AdTech Overview – Marketing To “The Social Web”

    May 24, 2004

I flew into sunny San Francisco this morning and first thing I scoped out the Ad:Tech venue – the ultra-swank Palace Hotel (marble escalators – enormous sunlit atrium with jazz band for Sunday brunch). I tried to get a sneak peek at the vendor’s section too, but their guard dog informed me that only vendors are allowed today.

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First Reports from AD:TECH 04...
First Reports from AD:TECH 04…

“They’re working,” she told me.

“So am I!” I said.

No go though, so I had to settle for an advance peek at the session schedule guide. Let me tell you, I’m psyched. I thought Ad:Tech sessions would be a stuffy metric-dork measure fest. Boy was I wrong.

I had planned to run through the sessions I’ll be attending, but I have to jump ahead and talk about what I’m most excited about. First of all Evan Williams, yes, the former CEO of Pyra Labs, which created Blogger and was acquired by Google in ’03, is speaking. He’s working for Google these days, and maintains the evhead blog. He’s in “The New ‘Social Web'” session, which Ad:Tech says will dig into social networks on line and “answer two key questions: where is the money and what is the marketing angle?”

This concept of the “Social Web” seems to be a major theme at this particular Ad:Tech – especially in regards to measuring word of mouth, “the influentials,” and how these figure in to the future of advertising as “young males disappear from TV audiences and pop up in Internet communities.”

Ok, so as if Evan Williams weren’t enough (and yes, I’ll be the dork shaking his hand and taking his picture after the session) John Battelle, ole grand daddy search himself, moderates the closing session tomorrow – Advertising’s Horizons. I read his blog regularly, and count him as one of the best sources for “big picture” search industry trends. If you’ve never visited BattelleMedia (his blog), do so now.

Yow! I’ll spend tomorrow night in my hotel room, recovering from a severe case of star struckedness.

I’m going to focus on the word of mouth tomorrow – there are two word of mouth sessions, the first on measuring word of mouth and the other on getting “the influentials” to talk about you. Influentials are “a segment of consumers who are setting the agenda and leading the word-of-mouth conversations.”

I think this is especially important, as many of you are already participating in this form of marketing, getting busy in the webmaster and search marketing forums around the web.

Monday night I’ll be getting my drink on at the Overture mixture, and I may try and crash the “Private CEO Dinner” hosted by gaspedal. If they’re lucky.

Tuesday’s giving me trouble – which sessions should I attend? For example “The Taguchi Method: Absolute Certainty in Media” offers a way to “test thousands of advertising campaigns in just a few dozen experiments, and design the optimized campaign at a fraction of the cost and time.”

It runs at the same time as “Email Management & Delivery: How to Stay Out of Trouble” though, which I know would be useful. But haven’t you heard enough about keeping your email campaigns legal? Let me know if you have stong opinions in the Taguchi vs. Email quandry I’m facing.

Another session I’m considering for Tuesday is “TV vs. Print vs. Radio vs Online – a SWOT Analysis of Media Types.” This session promises to get you educated on “media types beyond online advertising.”

The media comparison session’s main competitor is “Technology Marketing Ideas You Can Use,” which includes speakers from Oracle, Siebel Systems, and CMP Media.

You see my dilemma? One session promises to expand my mind beyond the media I’m familiar with while the other promises to show how Oracle and Siebel “leverage the web to get and keep valuable customers.” Again, let me know if you have strong feelings either way.

Tuesday night presents yet another dilemma, but a good one. I’m excited to be attending the AdBumb party – they publish pictures from their parties in their newsletter and they always look wild. I mean, for advertisers. Google’s CEO’s supposed to be there though. Heh.

But there’s also the BlueLithium After Party at “the most exclusive venue on the west coast.” So once I interview Mr. Schmidt I may stop by BlueLithium and shake my rump. Unless they’re dancing at the AdBumb – we’ll see if all those CEOs can cut loose.

Wednesday? Well, my plane leaves at 12:26, so I’ll have to be at the airport with my shoes off and my laptop out of its case by 11. And if I party like it looks like I will Tuesday night I may end up missing the half of “Mobile Marketing Super Session Part 1” that my tight schedule would have allowed.

Party or attend sessions? Now that’s a real dilemma 😉

Stay tuned here as I’ll be posting insider reports live from the conferences! Tomorrow’s first report will be the “Google Sponsored Forum,” where I expect to hear a great deal about their new image ads which are quite controversial with online marketers as well as their gmail advertising, which is quite controversial here in California.

Garrett French is the editor of iEntry’s eBusiness channel. You can talk to him directly at WebProWorld, the eBusiness Community Forum.