On the 23rd of February, I was invited to the Get Schmart Conference, in Sydney. Basically it encompasses, as they so aptly mentioned, Marketing: the art of strategy, creativity, social media and integration. Having qualifications and working for over five years in the marketing arena in several different industries, I was greatly anticipating what the conference would provide and excited at the opportunity to listen to and hear from the ‘heavy weights’ of the industry.
In all honesty, the sheer thought of an eight hour conference is a bit daunting, as, the reality of the situation is, sitting in a room for that long, absorbing a constant stream of information can be exhaustingly trying on even the most disciplined of people (in fact one of the speakers actually mentioned that adults have an active attention span of only 110 seconds). However, all in all, the conference was engaging, innovative, very relevant, thought provoking and extremely insightful. I fear that may be too many adjectives, but it is the honest truth.
Throughout the conference, I found myself nodding in agreement, considering the application of the information being presented to my own situation, or forming questions to mention during the question and answer sections. These three ideal participant responses are, to be perfectly frank, all too frequently difficult for a marketing conference to achieve, because of the obvious risk of being described as “well that is all good and well for you to say those things in theory up on a podium, but putting it into practice is just not possible, hence this presentation completely useless” is highly prominent.
One thing that I particularly enjoyed was the tweeting and use of twitter during the conference. There were large projector screens set up at the venue, and a hash tag established, so you could tweet information and questions about the conference, in real time. You could even directly address the speaker, which I found a real useful tool. I signed up for twitter that morning and ran my battery completely dry making comments, posing questions, and forming my own conclusions, which other attendees would interact with, replying, retweeting and referencing. It was such a positive contribution to the meeting, as it really encouraged live, simultaneous discussion to run parallel to the speakers, whilst providing a direct example of utilising social media at the same time.
Whilst I won’t go into detail with each individual speaker, overall, their topics blended together well and I felt that each had their own field of expertise to contribute to the overall message, which left me with a beneficial aggregate message upon the conference’s conclusion. By this I mean, for example, social media is absolutely dominating the internet and marketing strategies, but it truly is the proverbial ‘sand slipping through the fingers’ scenario- i.e.: no one truly understands it’s power and scope, especially as it changes so rapidly. The speakers chipped away at the complexity of the beast that is social media, and I found that their insights, real examples and discussions allowed me to piece together and grasp an appreciation of how marketing, as a function, needs to react and take advantage of this phenomenon in order to utilise it effectively and efficiently in a corporate world. Naturally, their messages were heavily boosted by the large, extravert personalities one would expect from a marketing professional, which made the conference, over all, enjoyable and truly educational.
Thank you to PMP Limited for hosting such a great conference, and I look forward to next year.