Here’s the latest edition of the newsletter. While I post much of the newsletter here, some updates such as jobs are exclusively available to subscribers. Sign up now to make sure you receive it.
What should you make of this year’s Advertising Week New York?
There are incredible speakers. So much of it is so thoughtfully produced. For an industry that needs to reinvent itself, even seeing how it reinvented a movie theater is a fascinating (and often frustrating) experience (the hub is Manhattan’s AMC Lincoln Square).
It’s a great event to catch up with people, and yet terribly designed for that. At an event like this, I wish there was far more time and space dedicated to connecting with others than sitting in panels. Panels are an overutilized crutch, as they’re useful for getting more speakers involved and in turn getting them to bring their own peers and followers to the event, but panelists rarely have to work too hard at being a panelist. It’s a twist on the 90-9-#1 rule, in terms of the ratio of effort speakers put into a solo talk versus moderating a session versus speaking on a panel.
As a case in point, I’ve probably moderated 100 panels or so in the course of 350+ speaking opportunities. Every single time, going back to when I was just starting to do this, I send questions to speakers in advance of the panel and then ask them what they’d like to change or add. I think in all those years dating back to 2004, two people have replied with any substantive feedback. I’m pretty sure that’s not because I come up with the perfect batch of questions and topics (one memorable speaker even said on stage how he disliked my questions – including the question that just reformulated the panel name into a question).
Beyond using the panels themselves, we have this slew of events where very little is announced and hardly more is learned. Ask anyone what they’re learning during Advertising Week. As I write this after the first day, I learned quite a bit about marketing blockchain companies, but that was thanks to a dinner that a friend organized. I also learned about some developments in the crypto industry, but that was at a Crypto Mondays meetup run by Lou Kerner. Yes, it’s useful to have people like Facebook’s Carolyn Everson on stage, but that’s also because such speakers have ample time to communicate their ideas, and they’re usually paired with an experienced journalist to push for at least a little more candor than they’d otherwise provide.
Overall, if Advertising Week sticks to the same kind of venue next year, I’d love to see half of the theaters turn into a series of meetups scheduled around various topics and themes, and perhaps even featuring a few 5-10 minute talks so that speakers can share their expertise. The rest of the time would be devoted to conversation and allowing people to really learn something from each other. At such a scale, there could be more experimentation too, such as certain meetups being very open-ended, while others could involve some kind of speed-dating (professionally, of course), and others could involve bringing people together to share some kind of challenge presented to the room.
Those are some initial thoughts as Advertising Week is underway. What do you think of these, and of the event in general? And what are you making of yourself?
BROUGHT TO YOU BY…
LEARN. TRY. SHARE.
BUILD THE PERFECT PITCH DECK
Here’s one to bookmark (and one that’s the latest addition to my Tech Tool list): The Brief, by NfX. It’s a fundraising pitch tool for founders and VCs to craft the kind of pitch deck that investors will appreciate. By the way, I sometimes like these startup tools when pitching new ideas for marketing, treating your own proposals like startup pitches. I think it’s overblown for every marketer to try to think like a startup – do you know the startup failure rate? (I don’t either, but it’s REALLY high.) Still, there are plenty of ways marketing folks at brands and agencies and elsewhere can learn from startups and assimilate some of their thinking and practices.
THE FOUNDER OF THE WEB WANTS A DO-OVER
Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. Now he wants to redo it. Overly ambitious and optimistic? Sure. But marketers should keep tabs on this one – especially since he has a very anti-corporate message, and that could bode poorly for advertisers if this catches on. From the article: “The difference here is that, on Solid, all the information is under his control. Every bit of data he creates or adds on Solid exists within a Solid pod–which is an acronym for personal online data store. These pods are what give Solid users control over their applications and information on the web. Anyone using the platform will get a Solid identity and Solid pod. This is how people, Berners-Lee says, will take back the power of the web from corporations.”
GOOGLE EXTENDS AD EXTENSIONS TO YOUTUBE
Google is now making it easier for advertisers to get consumers to take actions within YouTube ad units, while also making it simpler to use its Brand Lift offering.
Want to include your event below? Just reply with the details.
NEW YORK MEDIA FESTIVAL
New York, NY
This event is really several in one, covering music, games, TV & video, and rights tech. I’ll be moderating a panel on voice-activated AI for media and entertainment.
LANDMARK’S DEALMAKERS DIGITAL
New York, NY
Landmark Ventures puts on some phenomenal events, and this is their tentpole; you can request an invite via the link. I’ll be attending (they do let some riffraff in). “Dealmakers Digital is a private forum for advertisers, publishers, and content creators to convene around the next chapter of consumer digital engagement. Leading CMOs, CDOs, and executives across media, sports, entertainment, and e-commerce will come together to collaborate and discuss trends and innovation at the core of the evolving digital engagement landscape.”
AN EVENING WITH AD HERETICS
New York, NY
This $10 event is worth at least $11.50. I found out about it through Bob Hoffman’s newsletter and look forward to hearing what he, Doc Searls, and others have to say. I’m sure it will make everyone feel great about the ad industry. If you’re going, maybe we can sneak in flasks and do shots every time someone says something that makes us question everything we’ve done in our careers.
New York, NY
Kite Hill PR is back with another round of their annual Communications Week. This year’s theme is The Workforce of the Future. As always, they have a mix of paid and free events, including the PRSA Tri-State conference, plus some shorter events open to all.
DPAA VIDEO EVERYWHERE SUMMIT
New York, NY
Hailed as “the largest one-day media event of the year,” hot topics include multi-screen marketing, location data, and new media models. Brands and agencies can attend for as little as $150, and I’m looking forward to attending. I’m doing a bit of work with them as well, so if you have an audience (even a newsletter, blog, Slack group, etc) and are interested in spreading the word, let me know; I may be able to help snag a press pass.
Half Moon Bay, CA
This is an excellent event series; I went last year, and their lineup is full of memorable speakers. Everyone in the room has some impressive background and story. Request an invite via the link. “This November please join us for a probing, wide-ranging conversation about the tech-inflected issues that affect business and our world. Techonomy’s breadth is unlike other “tech” conferences. This year’s theme is Harnessing Tech for Responsible Growth, and as always we will address many of the issues facing leaders today.”
I’ll probably return for my 13th straight year. Registration is now open. Are you going?