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No Substitute to Learning From Marketing Leaders In-Person at Industry Events

Dave Morgan
Dave Morgan  |  Executive Chairman
Published: Apr. 20, 2022

As anyone who follows me on social media knows, I am very supportive of the advertising and media industries returning to the office, getting back to face-to-face events, and not forgetting the power and value that direct human interactions play in catalyzing innovation and driving our industry forward.

So you can just imagine how excited I was to spend time in Carlsbad, CA, attending the 2022 Association of National Advertisers’ Brand Masters event in person.

The conference was terrific, with more than 400 industry professionals in attendance, with just the right mix of brands, agencies, technology companies and media suppliers. Great content.

The stories we heard took our breaths away: Caesars Digital CMO Sharon Otterman walked us through the challenge of launching their massive brand, Caesars Sportsbook, in a brand-new but already crowded marketplace in just 99 days, in time for the NFL betting season -- and the deployment of $1 billion of marketing and media spend in that time to support it.

Kate Ardini, CMO of John Hancock, shared with us the challenges and opportunities that arise when most people see your company as the nice old person sitting in the corner at the party. Of course, as the company’s market research also unearthed, everybody said that old person was also the one they would trust to watch their handbag when they went to the bathroom.

Being perceived as trustworthy is much harder to achieve than being perceived as exciting, and much more important when you are an insurance company and financial advisor. This inspired John Hancock's Vitality product, an app-based service to provide meaningful discounts and services to help its customers lead healthier lives.

I’ve heard some great presentations from marketers on webcasts and Zooms. I’ve enjoyed many of them. However, none of those offered the benefits that come from the kind of non-verbal communications, integrated visuals and real passion that great speakers like Sharon and Kate brought to their presentations. The Zoom screen in your home office doesn’t compare.

Having the chance to engage speakers one-on-one over coffee or cocktails after their sessions to ask more questions and to hear them respond to others asking questions as you mingle with other attendees -- that is priceless. That is how we learn.

ANA's commitment to bringing us back together made a big difference for many of us, and we will all be paying it forward.

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An earlier version of this blog was originally published by MediaPost.