Technology for Marketing 2016

2016’s Technology for Marketing (TFM) event was held at Kensington Olympia along with the eCommerce Expo and Customer Contact expo. Held over an action packed two days from the 28th to 29th September, TFM is one of the must-see marketing events in the UK.

I had originally signed up for TFM only, but after reading the literature, it seemed as though I’d have access to more than one event. Once I’d entered the venue, it quickly became apparent that the events were all related. I could see that there was a lot of value to be had in seeing as much as possible, not just on the dedicated marketing side, so I went to as many stands as I could.

The numbers alone highlight TFM as a must-see event. Over 230 companies were exhibiting and 200 speakers shared their insights with the marketing professionals present. I was also really excited to see that Joe Pulizzi from the Content Marketing Institute was going to speak. I really enjoy listening to This Old Marketing podcast that he hosts with Robert Rose, so it was great to see him in the flesh.

The venue was huge. Although TFM was held at the same location as Smart Summit London, it was held in a larger part of Kensington Olympia. There was a huge main floor area, with a balcony surrounding it at first floor level. This lead to the eCommerce Expo, with great solutions for online retailers.

Atmosphere wise, the event was friendly, with approachable exhibitors and busy without being too crowded, even at the most popular stands or when the biggest keynote speakers were talking.

Keynote Speakers

Because I made a small plan beforehand, I could decide on the keynote speakers I wanted to see and get the most out of my time at the exhibition. I only saw one of these keynote speakers, but here are all three and what they came to speak about:

Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute – The Myth of Content Marketing: Most marketers who say they do it, really aren’t
Ritesh Patel, EVP & CDO, Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide – Caring for humans: Learning how pharmaceutical industry embraced technology to get closer to the customers
Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer, Microsoft UK – Re-imagining the future of technology

Themed Speaking Theatres

There were four themed speaking theatres where marketing topics in the same area were covered:

  • Data & Analytics Conference Theatre
  • Marketing Automation & Cross-Platform Conference Theatre
  • Search & Email Marketing Conference Theatre
  • Social Media & Content Marketing Conference Theatre

Speakers for the theatres included:

Andy Dubickas, Director Global Solution Consulting, Visual IQ
Stephen Ingledew, MD Marketing and Customers, Standard Life
Theresa Regli, Managing Partner and Principal Analyst, Real Story Group
Mike Talbot, CTO, 3radical
Jon Stanesby, Director Strategic Services EMEA, Oracle Marketing Cloud
Doug Kessler, Creative Director & Co-Founder, Velocity Partners
Mike O’Brien, CEO of Jam Partnership, Course Tutor and Digital Lecturer, The IDM
Graham Compton, Director, Business Edge Technologies
Louise Hunter, Channel & Alliance Senior Marketing Manager EMEA, Juniper Networks
Olivier Choron, CEO & Founder, Tremolo Software
Catherine Toole, Chairman, Sticky Content

eCommerce Expo

On the first floor, there were a lot of companies providing support for online retailers. Ranging from physical solutions behind the scenes like warehouse management and stock control through to customer facing solutions such as the international payments processing company Payoneer.

I didn’t spend much time in the eCommerce expo area, though I did get to see all of the exhibitors and there were a few keynote speakers up there on the first floor. I do think it delivered a good mix of vendors and keynote speakers.

Another company that stood out for me, were Order Wise. They had a solution that went from online sales, right back to inventory reporting. Their solution reminded me of other software providers I’d worked for in the past.

Customer Contact Expo

I also took the time out to visit the Customer Contact Expo. In the build up to TFM, I didn’t intend to visit the Customer Contact Expo, but as I’m always open to new things, I thought I would see how much I could learn from it.

The vibe I got from the Customer Contact Expo (CCE) was different to Technology for Marketing and the eCommerce Expo. I think the main reason for this could be the location. CCE was in the West Hall on the first floor, away from the main National Hall entrance on the ground floor.

CCE seemed quieter, with less footfall, though it also had its own entrance. As with Technology for Marketing, everyone at the CCE was very friendly and I think I asked a lot more questions of the vendors in this part of the exhibition than anywhere else.

Of particular note, were Greenlight CRM and Living Actor, providers of interactive, intelligent avatars that can actually converse with visitors to help them out.

Making Connections at Technology for Marketing

One of the most important parts of attending a conference is making of connections with other marketers. Of course, it’s important to listen to keynote speakers, find vendors that solve your problems and of course, get out of the office to clear your head.

Never forget that making those human connections will build a strong network of professionals you can explore ideas with. If you have a marketing team at your office, you can bounce ideas off your colleagues, but knowing people that can come at problems and provide ideas from another perspective is invaluable.

I managed meet and exchange business cards with quite a few fellow marketing professionals and hopefully we can work together in the future. Remembering that a friend from my time in Japan was looking for new translation opportunities, I thought I could help out a few translation companies at TFM. After the event, I got his permission to pass on his details to two companies that provide content translation services for many languages around the world including Japanese. Hopefully they get in contact with him.

Final Thoughts

I found the entire event to be a success. The venue was great, the people were great, the speakers were great. I was also able to connect with a lot of people and organisations.

I would recommend everyone working in the marketing to attend if they’re looking for solutions for their organisation. I’d also recommend business owners looking for marketing solutions to attend also.

Although our world is becoming increasingly digital, some decisions can’t be made solely through a computer screen. The human element can’t be ignored and the ability to socialise, make new contacts and ask important questions of and even compare so many potential service providers at once is invaluable.