ad:tech hits San Francisco this week at a new time and new location. This year’s version of the biggest show in our industry falls on Wednesday through Friday, leading into the weekend instead of starting on a Monday like previous years. It has also moved down the road from the San Francisco Marriott to the Moscone Center.
This will be my fourth trip to the Bay Area for ad:tech, and this year’s changes will pose some new challenges for conference veterans. For one, you won’t be able to jump on an elevator to catch a quick nap in your hotel room. But at least you won’t (or shouldn’t) be totally “partied out” the first day of the conference since you won’t be coming off a weekend bender.
Over the years I’ve offered my advice (and some of yours) on how to survive these shows — they can be a goldmine for your business, but can also be brutal if you are ill-prepared. I’ve actually witnessed colleagues leave shows with hangovers, impending divorces, or even newly-found jailtime. I’ve also learned a few things along the way. One reader told me never to refer to his city as “San Fran” — it’s “San Francisco”. Thanks… I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful — just lazy.
Many of the reader-submitted suggestions can apply to any trade show or conference:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Wear comfortable shoes — this ad:tech is supposed to have the largest exhibition floor to date, and again, it’s a hike to your hotel.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Bring lots of business cards — these shows are all about networking. A cocktail napkin with your phone number and email address on it will probably not make it back with me on my flight back to Florida.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Schedule lots of meetings ahead of time — sure, there are a lot of informative sessions to attend, but I’ve never been to one. If your company is going to shell out a few grand to send you to ad:tech, you’d better make the most of it.
While the days are packed with meetings and sessions, the evenings are chock-full of happy hours and parties. Last year, Mark Romanelli of Direct Response said, “Early in the night the networking opportunities tend to be good with the ad:tech parties… but for the parties that carry on into the night, the music gets too loud and some people start to forget what ‘CPA’ stands for. Basically if you are just looking to network, get there early.” Gee… we all though “CPA” stood for “Come Party @ ad:tech”….