This past week I joined 2,500 other marketers, publishers, and agencies and attended the ad:tech conference in Chicago. ad:tech is a 2-day marketing conference and expo that captures the insights, tools and techniques that today's business and marketing leaders need. In addition, I was able to meet and speak with several of the industry's top marketing professionals which was something I enjoyed and valued very much.
First of all, ad:tech is by no way a search engine marketing conference show to the likes of which I normally attend. While it did offer a few SEM related sessions here and there, the material was nothing too advance. In fact, it was if they just wanted to cover the basics of what search marketing means to websites, and then leave it at that. Instead, the conference was about marketing in general which I found to be quite refreshing.
My absolute favorite moment of the entire conference was a keynote lecture given by Guy Kawasaki, Managing Director of Garage Technology Ventures. I am a big fan of Guy's and very much enjoyed his ideas and comments on innovation and how industries, such as search, will continue to evolve and prosper.
In addition, the conference provided several opportunities to network with like-minded professionals. I found that the hotel bars, hallways, and lobbies were full of attendees talking shop, exchanging contact information, and more or less just having a good time.
The exhibit hall was exactly how one might imagine it to be... very busy, very loud, and most of all very exciting. Vendors included Yahoo!, Miva (formerly FindWhat), Kanoodle, ClickTracks, and many other Internet companies. I was able to get a few minutes of face time with my search engine reps, and speak with several great companies regarding services that I never knew existed.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed ad:tech. I practically filled an entire notebook with new ideas and products to test and implement, which is always a good sign of a worthwhile conference.