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Six Learnings from Advertising Week New York 2016

Advertising Week is always a bundle of learning, networking, comprehending and pivoting to what is relevant as the marketing world shapes and reshapes around us in real time. So, it was wonderful to see the reaction from a diverse selection of top executives and thought leaders excited for the topics and subjects we brought to the event representing Microsoft as Bing Ads. Many had great questions for us about our Bing Network, its products, audience and growth. But they also were equally curious about our culture and commitment to diversity and inclusion as well as our vision for the future of digital engagement.

Six takeaways from the event that shone through for us and we wanted to pass along to you, our customers, are the following:
  1. Partnerships matter. Too many companies treat partnerships as a means to an end. But partners aren’t simply nice to have because they help with monetization. Instead, partnerships matter because they help with relevance and improvement of a company’s existing offerings and working in true partnership shapes the future of the industry. It was nice to see the amount of presentations around partnerships in what is becoming a more collaborative business environment. We too hosted a session with our agency partners that we captured on video entitled Understanding Intent in the Age of Digital Transformation.
  2. Work to empower inclusivity. A modern business organization cannot last if it doesn’t include people from all walks of life that mirror its customer base. It’s very important to make sure an inclusive team chemistry exists whether one is working at an agency, a brand or a tech startup. This was discussed and captured on video at our Janes of Digital event and was brought up many times by our Corporate Vice President Kathleen Hall and also captured on video in her panel Storytelling in the Digital Age where she added perspective alongside Ann Rubin of IBM and Jill Cress of Mastercard.
  3. Holistic audience experience is key to success. Marketers don’t think in terms of siloes like search, social, experiential, out of home, television, radio, print, etc. We think in terms of how the customer will experience all of it within a moment of their life and how it adds value. This is what was discussed by our Vice President of North American Sales Rob Wilk and the entire panel hosted by CNBC entitled Masters of Monetization. Monetization is driven by experience and how that is pieced together, not simply by platform. Watch it in its entirety here.
  4. Digital innovation on human terms is key to the future. Organizations throwing around buzzwords like innovation, disruption and creative destruction won’t gain traction unless they practice what they preach. You can differentiate your product and move ahead of the competition when you innovate new ideas, services, solutions and experiences that work the way people want them to. Ryan Gavin, General Manager and Bonnie McCracken, Group Product Marketing Manager of Bing led a presentation looking at the new conversational natural interface technologies coupled with bots and AI will mean for marketers.  You can watch it here: A Dispatch from the Future of Search and read the MediaPost article.
  5. Behavior is reshaping technology. We can’t just talk about technology, platforms and ROI without understanding people. The best way to understand people? A deep dive into anthropology, culture, sociology, psychology and modern trends. Marketing has always stayed ahead of consumers by being ahead of these curves. Yet lately, many marketers and marketing organizations feel as if they are being left in the dust by evolving customer behavior. The best way to adapt to this world in hyper speed is to watch technologies on the horizon such as voice search and personal digital assistants and how that will reshape the consumer decision journey. This was the theme of Christi Olson, Bing search evangelist and my presentation aptly titled Search Advertising in a Digital Nomadic Society. In addition to watching the presentation, see what Ad Week wrote about it.

  6. Live moments matter. As you can tell by all our real-time video capture and audio podcast review the biggest learning is you must be in the moment where customers are and help them navigate this new normal.

How can you be a collaborative, empowering, holistic, innovating, trendsetting, in-the-moment marketer?
What were some of your favorite takeaways, learnings or themes from Advertising Week 2016? Feel free to let us know on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.