It’s Christmas in September for this nerd. The powers that be gave me the head nod to make the pilgrimage down to ad:tech Chicago. I wasn’t sure what I was really getting into, but seeing as most of the agencies we work with were either attending or sponsoring, it was pretty clear there was a compelling reason to go.
After day 1, I’ve seen the light. With four sessions to choose from every hour, amazing keynotes in the morning, and great conversations between sessions, well, there’s no way it’s all ever going to fit within a single blog post.
There are a couple sessions that nearly knocked me over, though.
- The Transformation of News Media: How to Thrive in the Age of Chaos
Who woulda thunk anyone could learn so much from the financially-challenged news media industry? It’s amazing how much harder you’re forced to think when you’re under the guillotine. No doubt, news media revenue is largely stagnant, and those failing to innovate have died. This humble nerd’s opinion? The places they’re looking at going are the same places our agency partners are going to start heading. Highly targeted, hyper local, deeply relevant content and user experiences…and not just via mobile.
- Master Class Workshop: The Modern Agency
With a panel comprised of Draftfcb, TribalDDB, and Razorfish, this was bound to be interesting. And it was. Key take aways:
- Clients don’t see agencies as strategic partners. The panel seemed to agree – this is where the opportunity is, and this is where agencies should consider going.
- Agencies that become strategic partners should expect to see a shift back to bundled services.
- Agencies need to move faster to include strategy that embodies emerging technologies. They didn’t with social, and that’s why internal marketing teams are handling the social channel.
- The new agency model involves triangulation between marketing, agency activity, and digital. I think. Anyone able to clarify this?
I think it was the comment that “agencies are comfortable” that made me see the dangerous parallels between the agency world and the news media world. I hope I’m wrong, or that agencies can make the quick move and innovate for their clients.
Every single session I attended put the gray matter into speeds beyond the legal limit. Instead of brain vomiting all over the place, final thoughts: Think hyper local, highly relevant, contextual experiences and content delivery. Not everyone is on Twitter, but the ones that are are the influentials (not my words, but hey).
Turns out ad:tech really is “The Event for Digital Marketing.” Nerdery Interactive Labs isn’t a digital marketing shop, but that’s exactly who our partners are. Throughout the day, this nerd got bathed in the challenges our partners face. Understanding the challenges of agencies puts the Nerdery in a position to become better and more strategic partners, something we all hope carries significant value back into the work we do.
If you’d like to catch the tweets from ad:tech Chicago, you can read them from me or everyone there.