My last ad:tech Chicago session was the Social Media Industry Forum, presented by Geoff Ramsey of eMarketer.
The sesh had a festive air for many reasons, not least that it was Ramsey's birthday. ad:tech's Warren Pickett burst in near the end to furnish him with candle-lit cupcakes.
But the company was also lively: we had a frothy, sometimes cynical and perennially candid band that included Digital Marketing Manager Katie O'Brien of Ben & Jerry's, President Rick Murray of Edelman Digital (which does interactive stuff for B&J's), PR/Social Media Manager Susan Wassel of Sanford Brands (here to rep Sharpie), and Digital Strategist Akash Pathak of DraftFCB, which worked with Wassel to bring life to Sharpie's label.
Please pardon this commercial interruption (unpaid and offered because we're nice and we're going to be there anyway):
From October 15-17, Blogworld & New Media Expo will hit Las Vegas. The event will cover blogging, podcasting, social media,online video, music, TV, radio, gaming, entertainment and communities.There will be more than 50 seminars, panel discussions and keynotes not to mention two days worth of exhibit hall fun.
Check out the conference website here. If you decided to attend, use the promo code ADRANTSBW. It'll score you an additional 20% off the rates. Do this before the expiration of early bird discounts on 9/14 and the savings will be bigger and better.
I wouldn't be pimping this if I didn't think it was a great conference. It is and I'm going. And besides, it's Vegas and who doesn't want a little Vegas in their life once in a while?
See you there.
ad:tech Chicago's "Love for Sale -- How Great Creative Seduces Its Target" session was broken into two discernably useful parts: statistics on online dating, and seduction as a metaphor for marketing.
We'll begin at the beginning.
The Online Dating Crowd
Accompanied by Liz Ross of Digitas US, Fusion Idea Lab's Matt Brennock regaled us with both statistics and close-to-home anecdotes -- the kind that's fueled many a romantic comedy.
I heard one guy say the pair had great chemistry, and he commended them for "[opening] the kimono" the way they did. Given the topic matter, and Brennock's zeal for reminding us (first once, then twice, then...) that men really do just wanna get laid, the geisha metaphor was oddly appropriate.
- The average online dater is 42 years old.
- Match.com remains tops, with 3.4 million uniques/month, but people increasingly drift away from these big-box dating sites and into more niche fare: j-date, veggiedate, Christian singles. (AdAge blogger Kelly Eidson seized this opportunity to send me a link to STD Match, a dating site targeted to people living with sexually transmitted diseases. There are also -- as if you didn't know -- ethnicity-specific sites.)
If the world wasn't our oyster before, the marvelous advances of the internet, coupled with mankind's enterprising creative spirit, have ensured it certainly is now. There's a match worth blogging.
Last night CIMA and Tatto Media sponsored a party at the Enclave nightclub in Chicago after the first day of ad:tech. The place filled up quickly. The party, which is perhaps a Chicago thing, never ended up like San Francisco or New York ad:tech parties where loud music and drunken dancing prevail. Rather, during most of the party, everyone just stood around and conversed. How amazingly refined!
That, of course didn't preclude some of us from consuming one too many martinis causing this particular article to be written, shall we say, a bit later than intended. But it's all good. The party was fun. It was great to catch up with Chicago friends and traveling conference buddies.
And the photographic evidence is here.
I admit it: I was eavesdropping.
Me and a crew of other bloggers invaded the press room early today. We were setting up our things, chatting about nothing, when I overheard something really interesting.
I looked up just as the guy was finishing his surmise: "In the future," he was saying, "I think people are going to wonder what the need was for keyboards. Or why we needed dial-up to access the internet. It will be free, and everywhere, like air."
This struck me as simple but inspired. I put my glasses on, checked out his tag: Rishad Tobaccowala, CEO, Denuo. It hits me: Hey! This is the guy who's doing the first keynote!
So I sit and futz with my thumbs for awhile, and finally I get up and walk over.
The Chicago ad:tech conference is always much smaller than the coastal behemoths New York and San Francisco but the "windy" city (which, by the way didn't get it's name from the wind , rather the "windy" politicians) has its charms. The river. Navy Pier. Lake Michigan. And a conference setting that's manageable.
As always, the exhibit hall is where a lot of the action is. Where the conversation occurs. Where old acquaintances are rekindled. Where you can hear your share of elevator pitches. And where booth babes pimp products. Hey, it's an ad conference. These things happen.
Check out the pictures here.
For those of you that value conferences for the "networking," ad:tech Chicago's opening night party kicks off at 8PM on Tuesday.
It happens at Enclave, which you probably remember from last year. From 8-10 there'll be open bar and hors d'oeuvres -- usually tasty but scarce; I stand by the kitchen entry for just this reason. From 10-11, it's a cash bar, which is your cue to exit stage left and go find a good jazz club anyway. That's what Chicago's really about,* and boy will that SEO guru think you're cultured!
Good news: sporting your ad:tech badge grants you free entry. Register before September 1 for a free expo hall pass. And if you want to know where Enclave is, it's at 220 W. Chicago Ave -- right between N. Franklin and N. Wells.
See you by the kitchen.
On September 1, ad:tech will kick off its fifth annual show in Chicago. It will focus on helping companies build their brands in a digital world. The event will take place from September 1-2, 2009 at Chicago Navy Pier.
During the 2-day conference, ad:tech Chicago will focus on real-world case studies and offer workshops to help people put learnings into practice. Speakers and audiences will explore consumer acquisition and retention, branding best practices, offer tactical takeaways and help attendees get up to speed on emerging trends, platforms and technologies.
Search engine optimization expert Bruce Clay will present an SEO workshop that looks at best practices and optimization trends across current and emerging search media and technology platforms.
Earlier this week, Affiliate Summit East rocked the shizzle. OK, so that's a lame way of putting it but, well, this conference always turns out to be one of the most informative and fun. Particularly because it's peripheral to the world of "regular" advertising.
Affiliate marketing is a segment of marketing that doesn't get much mainstream advertising press. Why? Because it doesn't consist of sexy, :30 spots made by primadonna ad agencies which are concerned, mostly with winning awards. Affiliate marketers, on the other hand, care mainly about one thing; making money. (Yes, I have written this exact paragraph before)
Not that "regular" advertising isn't about making money but Affiliate Marketing leaves the flash behind and focuses entirely on the substance of things.
Here's another great definition: "Affiliate marketing widens the scope of your internet presence by encouraging other websites to become advocates for your services, increasing your online exposure and improving the efficiency of your advertising spend."
One of the more interesting aspects of Affiliate Summit is the Meet Market. On Saturday, the first day of the conference, simple tables are set up in a large room where merchants and affiliate networks can talk to publishers about the kinds of programs they have and what might work best. It's a bit different than your typical exhibit hall with fancy booths and glossy presentations. The Meet market is all about sitting down together and doing actual business.
So if you were at Affiliate Summit East the first night, then you probably made it to the Buy.at rooftop party at the Empire Hotel. If not, well, then it was your loss. But at least you can look at the pictures.
Buy.at always does nice job kicking off Affiliate Summit. They certainly did so during Afiliate Summit West when they held a party atop Moon Nightclub at the Palms Hotel.
Anyway, that's all. Just pictures.