ad:tech inspire

As a preview to the conference’s main programming, ad:tech offered a series of presentations they called ad:tech inspire and offering examples of “creating inspiration [and] inspiring creativity”.  The second such panel included the following speakers:



Susan Bratton, Co-founder and CEO, Personal Life Media

Brad Berens, Chief Content Officer, Digital Marketing Sector, dmg::events



Lynne D. Johnson, Content + Community, Consultant

Dan Neely, Founder and CEO, Networked Insights

Flash Rosenberg, Artist & Attention Span for Hire, Flash Rosenberg Studio

Lynne Johnson shared her inspiration: augmented reality.  The purchase funnel has been flipped.  Whereas we used to do product research before we went shopping, now we’re doing our research online while we’re shopping.  This isn’t just limited to online shopping; we are doing product research and reading reviews on smart-phones while we’re shopping in-store.


The mobile device is something that can bring together strategies for mobile, social, and local marketing.  Augmented reality offers opportunities to provide greater ease and utility in the mobile experience.  There is a spectrum of augmented reality use cases, from the simple and gimmicky to the more useful (such as previewing a product before purchase or near-field communications.)  Johnson believes that augmented realty offers real possibilities for genuine engagement in the near future.

“Who we are on the outside, and who advertising tags us as isn’t necessarily who we are”, Brad Berens explained in introducing Dan Neely.  The challenge for marketers today is that consumers are pushing out their own messages at a rate where it’s hard to separate the signal from the noise in the data.  Neely believes that there is a different way to approach this information than we have for the last sixty years.


Consumers want to do it their way, not the advertiser’s way.  On one hand, they don’t want to deal with pop-ups and banner ads.  On the other hand, though, they leave a footprint through their online behavior that marketers can leverage.  Customers’ talk is always on, and analytics need to make sense of this data and segment it so that it can inform advertising, television programming, etc.  Where not used to this always-on model, according to Neely.  We operate in steps, from planning to implementation to measurement, instead of constantly adjusting for feedback in real-time


We need to stop reacting to the consumer and move data from the back-end of the decision process to the front-end.  If we don’t move in sync with the customer, our message will be lost.  You don’t have to get data that no one else can get; you just have to get it before anyone else.  We’ve moved beyond “test and learn”, and we need to know what the customer thinks when we start to make decisions.

Flash Rosenberg shared the idea of “drawing at the speed of talk.”  She sits in on presentations and draws what is discussed as a way to capture not just the message that is being shared, but also its context.  These aren’t courtroom drawings; they are abstract drawings that represent the ideas that are being discussed.  She may be making notes and drawings to some up a ninety minute speech into a five minute summary that captures the essence of the presentation as if you were there.

Drawing is “like a line taking a walk. Are we walking the lines, or… is the line walking us?”  Rosenberg doesn’t see herself as an “-er” or an “-ist”.  Her inspiration comes from art not as a way of capturing an item, but as a way of talking.  She looks at the digital age as an end to problems.  Now, she muses, they are no problems, just “known issues”.  We don’t need solutions, we now have “work-arounds!”

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