Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Will Digital Marketing extract its own digit? Ad Tech 2010 Olympia

It’s hard work learning from the Digital Marketing Industry for those of us on the outside even if you attend Ad tech 2010 exhibition at Olympia.

Listening to digital marketers maunder on is akin to driving on the M1 late at night during the winter with the radio on to prevent one dropping off. You grimly want to get to your destination ( the end of their spiel) but you have 4 hours to travel. You are tired and it is as if your thumb is in your bum and your brain is in neutral!

GMOOT syndrome victims like me ( Get me out of those lectures) were encouraged to ask questions, challenge big business and to get our head round the latest marketing innovations of DM.

We were advised by Christopher Asselin, Conference and Marketing Director and Anthony Hall Event Manager to ask stupid questions and persevere. Chance to get a word in edge ways would have been a fine thing!

The free lectures so much the part of the shows of this kind were rather reminiscent of school assemblies of years ago where the teacher talked at the audience. They seemed chained to some of the PowerPoint slides. The experience was like dragging a feather through treacle.

There were many excellent messengers ( and masseurs) even if their personal presentations and media of their messages were dull dull dull from what purports to be the showcase by Marketing experts.

Holding a hand held microphone like an erstwhile Bingo Caller, head buried and reading off PC screen PowerPoint slides with little eye contact to the audience is let’s face it a turn off.

Unless of course your kicks are the freak acts on the X factor, Britain’s Got Talent or rubber necking car accident victims.

A crowded show of two days packed with subject matter specialists, from both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres attracted a good number of fellow visitors.
We had purveyors of all sorts of services drawn from On line gaming, online retail, mobile marketing Customer engagement, Lead traffic generation, Sales Generation and mongers of more exotic and sensual services such as massage services and even a London Docklands Children’s charity Richard House.

Small Plasma Screens of diameter barely suitable for a small domestic lounge let alone a professional business show for an audience of 50 were pretty feeble. I guess only the front three rows could read the words on the slides. I observed a lot of wandering heads and some slumped postures dropping off to sleep although pretending they were tweeting!

I also found the roped in pens rather reminiscent of an indoor agricultural show.- a touch creepy. I doubt the exhibitors would have passed an audit for cruelty to animals.
Many of the exhibition stands looked cheap, tired and samey. This was surprising uncreative for a profession which claims cutting edge creativity set to take over the offline world of reality and present a new world of change.
This show is in its sixth year so these are hardly early days in the life cycle of the industry which still sees its primary selling style to be that of a missionary. Perhaps they nonetheless think are educating the ignorant souls of the unwashed like me.
The show was crowded but I am not sure it was that genuinely busy in the sense of doing business. It is seemed to be more like some adolescent end of year fashion show with Diploma students gossiping among themselves occasionally deigning to present their wares in a cock sure manner to those of us patient enough to be served by them.
There were lots of monologues going on but precious little listening.
Not all was lost
Refreshingly upstairs in the Gallery all was not lost. Google had a series of Google Ads Factory tour lectures which were more professionally presented with more readable screens and more intelligent engagement.
Well I will be waiting for the follow up calls from the exhibitors.

I wonder how many will pick up the phone and how many will hide behind the virtual world sending me an email and think they are selling?


  1. Hi Hugh
    Clearly there were lots of good people and good products there. But it is not surprising to hear that it was not very professional from a sales and promotional point of view.
    Having been to many exhibitions in UK and USA it is the exception more than the rule that the people managing the stands get the basics right. And sales follow up is remarkably rare.
    But presumably most exhibitors feel they get value from the events or they would not be there ?
    Regards Eric Pillinger

  2. Thanks Eric

    Yes the 'follow up' issue or lack of follow up is a puzzle

    I wonder how or even if some exhibtitors actually measure the return of their investment of an exhibition.

    Mind you that's an opportunity for refreshment training of those basics you refer to !