Q&A with Warren Pickett, Content Director, ad:tech Expositions
For anyone playing in the digital advertising/marketing space, ad:tech is considered to be the end-all be-all of digital marketing and networking conferences. Brands, agencies and publishes of all sizes vie for the coveted (and somewhat limited) speaking slots each year. We recently sat down with the conference’s Content Director, Warren Pickett, to find out what makes the conference tick and what they’ll be looking for in successful speaking submissions this year. With this year’s ad:tech New York speaking proposal deadline literally around the corner (Friday, June 29), here’s some insight into how YOU can make an impression on Warren this year.
B+G: What are the key elements you look for in a good speaking proposal?
WP: We look for structured content, including brand-specific case studies, best practices and tactics, industry research and trends, to educate the audience. Recent or exclusive content stands out, as well as practical advice that marketers can take back to the office, are all key additions to a good speaking proposal.
B+G: Are you looking primarily for stand-alone speakers or for panelists?
WP: The ad:tech conference has evolved from almost exclusively including panels within the conference to most sessions involving a series of three to four individual presentations. Whereas brands, and even agencies, often speak solo during the sessions, we encourage solution/technology providers and publishers to identify a brand client to co-present and share their experiences with the audience.
B+G: Which trends have you seen develop at ad:tech over the last 2 years?
WP: As the digital landscape continues to fragment, the marketer’s job is more and more challenging. We’ve seen interest in channels, such as search, mobile, and social, grow from being nascent to core topics, and an increasing interest in integrated and cross-channel marketing, performance marketing, and analytics and attribution.
B+G: How should brands go about engaging the ad:tech community?
WP: We realize each brand has its own comfort level when it comes to sharing details about their efforts, and we encourage brands to present their best practices and lessons learned to help the other marketers in the audience. Speaking at the conference is a great way to be seen as a thought leader in the marketplace. When possible, we like to include examples and findings that can be exclusive to the ad:tech audience of brands, agencies, publishers, VCs and technology providers. Because marketers fight for consumer attention against a fragmented device and media landscape, it’s vital that the industry stay on top of trends. Brands can help the ad:tech community understand what’s vital now and what’s coming next.
B+G: Are there any particular present or past submissions that stood out to you and why?
WP: We’ve been fortunate to attract some really quality brand speakers to present at ad:tech. Often, one brand speaking at the event will lead to another brand or partner speaking at a future event. While it’s hard to pinpoint a particular submission, we look for the best opportunities to highlight creative, innovative ways to drive the digital marketing industry forward.
B+G: Does having a sponsorship presence at the conference in any way influence speaking proposal acceptance?
WP: The ad:tech conference strives to focus on educating the industry. As such, sponsorships do not influence our decision-making process for selecting conference speakers. Sponsors can pay to speak at ad:tech, but these opportunities are clearly identified for the audience as sponsored and are not selected by the ad:tech content team. Conference speakers do not pay to speak at ad:tech and are selected according to their speaking and content experience.
For more information on upcoming ad:tech conferences, please visit http://www.ad-tech.com/ and check out the schedule and locations below. Cheers and happy submitting!
Interviewed by David Racusin