My trip to Ad:Tech San Francisco is wrapping up and I sit here in the heart of San Fran at a Starbuck’s window reflecting back on everything that I experienced.
Having never been to San Francisco, I jumped at the opportunity to speak at Ad:Tech SF, admittedly not knowing much about the conference. Upon arriving to San Fran, I was instantly in love with the scenery and culture. The diverse and forward-thinking culture makes me excited about life. I spent the first day sight seeing while walking through my presentation in my head, nervously awaiting the next morning.
First thing Tuesday, I met the rest of my panel of speakers for breakfast to rehearse. Our topic was on “Brands & Agencies: Success Stories for Working Better Together.” It’s something that has been a long-time topic of the agency world that I’m not sure anyone will actually master, but that was the fun of it. I remember in the early stages of my career, everyone acted like it was a science to speak to a client, treating them as if they spoke another language. I always considered myself to be a people person and that is partially why I’m in this business. The more and more I thought about the brand and agency relationship, it finally hit me; it’s just like an actual romantic relationship. So that is the “aha” moment that has brought me to where I am today, sitting at a breakfast table with 4 amazing professionals that make me feel as though I am horribly under qualified. The company I was in was:
VP, Global Marketing, Oakley
VP, Strategy and Business Development, Interference Inc.
VP, Client Strategy Factory Design Labs
SVP, Product Leadership for Ad Effectiveness
The presentation felt like it was done in a flash. All the practice and all the build up and that was it. I did good, but I know I will look back years from know and laugh about it. And if I don’t, I know I am not learning and growing.
With the pressure off, it was time to enjoy all the conference had to offer. Starting with my co-worker, Ali Turner’s presentation. She spoke on a panel about Social tactics, a hot topic at the conference. Ali knocked it out of the park and I quickly learned I may have a speaking partner in the future. The next day I had the chance to walk through the expo area, what I like to call the “flea market”. I was overwhelmed about the amount of vendors trying to sell their products all of which I struggle to see how they were sustainable - targeting, retargeting, affiliate marketing, email programs, plug and play designs, apps and more. Oh yes and don’t forget data, data and more data. Being from the creative side of things, I felt like I was in the matrix. I am not discounting its importance as much as the fact that it seems like everyone there was chasing the next widget to help sell his or her product.
In the end, I had an amazing time and learned a lot, good and bad. But as I sit typing this looking out the Starbucks window watching the busy foot traffic of “consumers” in San Francisco I smile to myself because this is what brought me out here in the first place, the idea that we are all people and consumers ourselves. It’s not a science, we just need to open our eyes to our daily lives for the answers.