Last week, after the madness that was Mobile World Congress, I slipped back into the country over night so I could dash off Friday morning to moderate a panel at the London Tech Summit hosted by the London Business School Technology Club.
The session, entitled: New models for Social Networking: Can Advertising Support Growth? kicked off in earnest around 11:30 with representatives from Goojet, Do The Green Thing, Advent Partners and Google all taking part.
Image via @brendanquinn
That’s me over there on the far right. This panel session, the first of the day, was briefed as follows:
What does it mean to engage an audience? How do you use social networking sites to advertise your business? The advent of social media has dramatically altered how people interact with each other. We will explore what this means to traditional business models, and how companies have responded to these developments to reach new audiences.
And so on.. The theme itself wasn’t a new to me having recently presented on the subject (or something similar) at New Media Age but then again, what I had to say wasn’t to be the focus.
The session was about the panellists:
- Guillaume Decugis, CEO, Goojet
- Andy Hobsbawn, Co-founder, Green Thing
- Paul Fisher, Associate, Advent Venture Partners
- Stephen Webb, Head for Technology Clients, Google UK DSO
Having never moderated a panel before it was quite exciting to be taking charge of such an esteemed bunch of industry leaders. I had definitely seen a fair few sessions like this in my time – so I knew exactly what not to do. Believe it or not, it really is a fair old challenge; trying to balance not talking too much yourself with not letting the panellists get too wrapped in in their own respective agendas… as well as trying to keep the audience as engaged as possible. It can get tricky.
However, to all intents and purposes it seems I didn’t do a bad job, but – as I said before – this is about the panellists.
When asked if social networking could indeed support growth in the advertising sector, the panel were unanimous in their disagreement:
“Not in the current model…” said Paul, “..advertisers need to change tact..” agreed Andy “New businesses are out doing it for themselves…” finished Guillaume, who also went onto explain that the model of advertising in France is so utterly painful when it came to anything TV based – “Months of planning for a slot that you might not even want in three months time!”
Here are some more key quotes –
“Purposeful communities will be where the money can be found” – “Remember, volume doesn’t change the human experience”
“Who wants to pay for content today?”
“Interactions speak louder than words”
“an pages (a la Facebook) is more like relationship marketing than traditional campaign based advertising”
“If you can’t interrupt people anymore, then you will have to rely on the quality of your content to get attention”
“The internet isn’t a network of computers – it’s a network of people who happen to use computers”
Pleasingly, the overall theme of the 30mins we had taking questions was that brands and advertisers need to be MORE HUMAN in their approach to engaging with EVER SMARTER consumers who won’t just lap up the first thing that’s put in front of them.
Whether you’re a new mobile startup like Goojet or one of the largest corporations in the world, like Google it would seem contextual and conversational engagements are at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
In the meantime – how are you being human in the way you engage?
You know consumers are getting smarter, right?