Weird - yet good - show.
"This is the eleventh AD:TECH," said show Chair Susan Bratton just
before Tuesday morning's keynote.
You'd think that any industry after 11 conferences would have
stabilized. That there would be at least a handful of massive
booths (aka "pavilions") on the show floor from the biggest vendors.
That the majority of attendees would be experienced in the field.
Instead it was the opposite.
Yes, everyone was celebrating the fact that the industry has
stabilized in terms of forward growth and respect. One speaker
said, "Last year we were all just glad to be here; this year
Internet's back big-time. We're walking with a collective swagger."
However, the industry has yet to truly coalesce.
- There were absolutely no big booths. Even big-name companies had
booths that in any other industry's tradeshow would be for small-fry
- I hadn't even heard of roughly 25% of the folks exhibiting. They
were either new, or newly renamed, or flying real low under the
radar before this. Established industries don't have so many
- Aside from the huge number of vendor sales reps, the almost 4,000
attendees couldn't be grouped into any one heading. I've never seen
such an odd mixture of utter newbies, old-timers, low-level people
and C-level people at any comparable show in another industry.
- The topics everyone was talking about in the hallways were
contextual advertising (ie Google Adsense and its competitors),
search marketing, and rich media. Hardly anyone talked about email
(aside from fear, fear, fear) when a year or two ago, it's all
anyone talked about. Topical whiplash.
So, yes the show was big, attendees were in an upbeat mood, and
there were some pretty good speeches (links below), but my
overwhelming feeling was … as an industry we have a long way to go.
And I'm looking forward to AD:TECH 2013. It's gonna be really
AD:TECH's Official Show Blog with loads of commentary and notes from
Fast Company's Blog with some word-for-word transcripts of actual
speeches (scroll down and look at entries for Nov 3-5):
MarketingSherpa's Library, including interviews and Case Studies
with more than two-dozen AD:TECH speakers: