New York, New York. What a place.

I had the opportunity to attend Advertising Week in New York City on September 25-28th. The days were filled with discussions about the future of advertising, marketing, retail innovation, and media.

I enjoyed hearing Keith Weed, CMO of Unilever, discuss how they leverage social media listening to discover and execute upon opportunities. They use this approach to tap into trends and insights allowing them to create a consumer centric response. One example he gave was how they noticed matcha tea was gaining popularity amongst trend setting women in the fashion and fitness communities. Using consumer sentiment analysis, Lipton Tea had their first social media inspired product on store shelves in just seven months and they were able to double the entire matcha category in the United States in four months.

After hearing Keith speak, I was a judge at Advertising Week’s first Startup Summit Pitch Competition. The three categories were AI & Data, AdTech/MarTech, and Experiences. The fact that all of the companies could have participated in any of the three categories is indicative of the development of seamless customer experience. Having been previously viewed in silos, the convergence of technology across categories is where we are heading. Similar to how Steve Dennis described this at our Tech Trends event, harmonized retail is the future; one brand using many channels.

On the 27th, I had the pleasure of speaking on a venture panel discussing the trends we are seeing and what we are looking forward to. When asked about what we are seeing in the predictive analytics world of retail, I discussed my excitement and anticipation of hyper-personalized customer service both on and offline. If we are going to allow brands to track our usage or interactions, we expect to receive an enhanced brand experience. My favorite way I’ve heard the data-share dynamic described is that it is built on a trust of relevance.

We all agreed on the fact that there is hype in the innovation space. Finding those differentiating factors between a solution that is merely novel versus one that truly generates value makes all the difference.

New York was a great time. Advertising Week was packed full of great content, connections, and experiences. Hamilton is the real deal, I understand what all the talk is about it now. I am looking forward to returning.


Watch the panel replay here