The “anti-conference” MarTechfest highlighted the necessity of in-person events
Despite its roots in the digital realm, #MarTechFest Global 2021 was, more than anything else, a celebration of real life. At least that’s how it felt, looking out at Canary Wharf, coffee in hand, chatting to other marketers about the state of the MarTech industry until my throat was sore. Sponsored by BluprintX and a number of other tech companies, the marketing “anti-conference” took place at the Magazine, London on the 22nd of October. Yes, you read that right: an actual, physical location!
Flanked by the O2 Arena, the Magazine’s no-nonsense industrial design was the perfect setting for the event. People were able to mingle in the wide, open exhibition space; engage in eye-opening discussions in the polished-black mainstage; or enjoy street food, coffee and beers in the crisp London air atop the Thames.
#MarTechFest Global 2021 was our first foray back into the world of live, wide-scale networking post-lockdown. Initial hesitancy over returning to in-person functions was soon mollified by the informal, playful energy that permeated the event. Even the back-ache and sore throat were a welcome change from the eye strain and headaches that come with virtual events.
The “anti-conference” atmosphere allowed us to drop our defences and connect – isn’t connecting what MarTech – and marketing in general – is all about? What resulted was some helpful, even inspirational chats following the collective reset of the last year and a half.
Rather than just one-way lectures or stilted Q&As in a virtual “breakout room”, actual conversations were taking place. Attendees revealed their “pains”, and we shared real insights and potential remedies. Discussions peeled back the shiny top layer of MarTech to reveal the why of it all, rather than just talking new tech.
We examined CDPs and their necessity, looked at the foundations for the future directions of the industry, and got stuck into the big issues with practical, actionable solutions. Our very own Wyatt Bales was one of the key speakers, delivering insight into omnichannel measuring and automation across channels.
What #MarTechFest Global showed us most of all is that there is still a lot of curiosity and potential for discovery in Marketing. As the industry continues to grow and change, we have so much more to learn. This is why the return of real-life events is so incredibly exciting! It was amazing to experience the collaborative buzz that results from like-minded humans getting together in-person, to see where MarTech is headed next.