How could we make Advertising Week more interactive and inclusive?
Brought to you by: Compete Week
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Happy Advertising Week, everyone. And Happy Tech Week. And Happy Ad Tech Week.The first two did take place in New York City this week. The third is made up. Ad Tech Week would be pretty dull anyway; they’d sell all your registration data to the highest bidders and then recommend panels for you that you either already went to or would never attend.Did you attend any of Ad Week or Tech Week? How was it for you? For Ad Week, I have a few thoughts on how to make it better.This year, the main Advertising Week hub was in the Manhattan Mall, whose anchor tenant used to be JCPenney; it was also one of the last places in America to experience KB Toys. The venue led to some surprising conversations, like with the guy who told me, “I kept getting distracted in the session by the Intimate Apparel sign hanging there.” That was probably from JCPenney, not KB Toys. Either that, or I really don’t remember what kinds of toys KB stocked.Ad Week reminded me that no matter how brilliant and experienced and witty the speakers are – and there was no shortage of them – I have little patience sitting in a dark room for 40 minutes watching people 50 feet away cover topics that may not even be of interest to the moderator. While I did catch a few great speakers, I learn way more in the halls outside.One problem with holding a conference in this former mall is that this mall was a great spot to get lost in and a terrible spot for seeing who was there. If this mall was once supposed to resemble a town square, it was a town square designed by Kafka.Also, a point of irony: unlike last year’s Ad Week held at Essex Market, this year’s included nothing resembling a food court. Almost every booth that had any food was serving dessert. Thanks, Canva, for their juice bar as the lone spot bucking the trend.The best part of Ad Week? (Beyond the juice?) It’s who I got to see in the halls, or the dressing rooms. If only it was easier to find people at the right time, especially scattered across four levels of the JCP-KB Industrial Complex.Most of those run-ins happened outside of Ad Week proper, in large part because Ad Week is so top-down in how they organize it, and the real estate goes to the highest bidder. So as much as I appreciated the installations from Google, Snap, Netflix, Canva, Yahoo, Amazon, and others, and as much as I enjoyed quite a number of conversations I had with paying delegates, there was way more to take in all over town.Also, I’m not here to snack-shame, but let’s just agree not to talk about that protein-packed Pop-Tart knockoff. “Red velvet” is what my tongue felt like for hours after eating it.What would I love from Ad Week going forward? Beyond better culinary options?They need to tap into the unconference spirit, a vibe that got lost along the way well before anyone started using the word “vibe” again.What if there were times and places where marketers could meet each other by interest, whether it’s retail media, programmatic advertising, AI, or others?What if there were impromptu workshops led by subject matter experts who weren’t on the speaker roster?What if communities – yes, like Serial Marketers and AI Marketers Guild, but also Mosaic, Yorkseed, OldTimers, MadTech, and lots of others you may or may not know – were given space and time to have their members meet?What if there was a networking-only pass for those who want to meet attendees and exhibitors but can forgo the sessions? It could even be a companion to the Digital Delegate pass ($125) for someone who wants to watch the sessions but prefers to do so remotely; it’d be priced well below the $699 Delegate pass.Or what if a brand involved with Ad Week or wanting to reach a similar audience offered a community space ‘rental’ at a spot near the main hub? Request the space free for an hour or so to have a meetup in return for promoting the branded experience to your list. You know how many community organizers and industry influencers would jump at something like that? Even if there were typically high no-show rates for gatherings during such a crazy week like this, the hosting company would get all the signup info anyway.After quite a week, I’m left wondering how to make this ad industry tent pole event more inclusive so that it can attract even more people to foster more education and collaboration.If anyone’s up for coming up with plans to do this now in 2024, let’s talk.Otherwise, I’ll still see you at next week’s conference — just as far away as humanly or inhumanly possible from any fake red velvet Pop-Tarts.David——————————
BROUGHT TO YOU BY: COMPETE WEEK
Learn from CMOs at CompeteWeek2023Learn from top CMOs that are competing within saturated markets at Compete Week 2023 on Nov. 8-9 hosted by Klue (one of LinkedIn’s Top Startups).Top GTM leaders from Apollo, Hubspot, and Salesforce sharing what they’re doing to make their teams more efficient, how they’re using competitive intel to generate demand, and help revenue teams close what’s in their existing pipeline. Including sessions and speakers like:- Sydney Sloan on lessons from a career competing for mindshare leading teams at Adobe, Salesloft, and now Drata- Meagen Eisenberg on where competitive intel fits into her portfolio as a CMO- Jarod Greene on the programs he runs to keep the C-Suite on top of the competitive landscapeSave your seat!——————————
WHAT TO WATCH & READ:
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HOW TO SHARE
Thanks to James Gardner, Cary Munk, Dan LaFontaine, Andre Archimbaud, Devin Brown, Justin Dank, Pauline Echols, Paul Robinson, James A. Gardner, Seth Girksy, and Michael Winter for spreading the word about the newsletter recently.
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