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ad:tech Singapore 2010

Returning to the bustling city state for the third time, ad:tech Singapore was held over two full days, during which 1,500 attendees were welcomed to the conference. The interactive and digital marketing exhibition and conference counted top executives from Microsoft, CitiGroup and Intel in its ranks, and TAXI was on the spot at the closing keynote panel to round up the event’s key themes.

With the event venue being smack in the middle of the city, at the Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre, there couldn’t have been a better spot to hammer home the event’s overarching message of “collaboration between brands and consumers”.

At the heart of the discussion was the rise of social media in the sphere of marketing. There’s been a lot of talk surrounding the online platform’s potential, and with many a marketer’s hopes being pinned on it, the panel didn’t seem to disagree. It’s the “medium to embrace”, according to Shawn Warren, vice president of marketing at Kraft Foods. Interactive marketing, it seems, is poised to take over.

Advertising, on the other hand, had to play catch up with the changes. Much of the panel was devoted to the so-called “outdated models” practised in agencies. The distinction between above-the-line and below-the-line advertising is gone; brands and agencies alike have to be “consumer-centric and channel-agnostic”, preached Alex Hunter, an independent brand consultant and self-described ‘digital ninja’.

This consumer centricity seemed to be the key to unlock marketing and advertising strategies, where brands and companies have to engage with their consumer at an emotional level. “Care for your consumer” is the driving force behind all advertising, and social or interactive media would probably be the best bet to do so.And this is how the internet upstart will become the new advertising behemoth. Because platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube have given the ‘armchair critic’ a complete makeover, the online factors in two-way communication between brand and consumer, and between consumers themselves. Brands can grow organically through not just word-of-mouth, but the words of many, many mouths.

And both people and companies do listen to this digital media democracy.

In between jibes at Microsoft’s falling market share, Andrew Pickup, chief marketing officer for the technology giant, mentioned that all media “will eventually be digital”, and that the term ‘digital marketing’ will learn to enclose all aspects of marketing.

But for all the social media hype, not all present at ad:tech were entirely convinced. A question posed during the Q&A section addressed the concern of advertising returns from digital and interactive spend. But the speakers weren’t too worried about that; focus on building relationships with customers, they concurred, and the cash will eventually come.

Digital media, to them, might still be in its infancy, but it doesn’t take baby steps forward; it goes in leaps and bounds.

This event was attended by TAXI Editorial Correspondent.
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