Short Recap of Marketing Festival 2019 in Prague

MKT Festival 2019

I added this blog post to my to-do list thinking it will be a breeze to push it out but, alas, almost two weeks passed from the Marketing Festival conference day and I am struggling to write it. If it wasn’t for the psychological effect Asana has one me – once a task is there, it’s either done or forever haunting me – you wouldn’t be reading these very words.

Okay, let’s do it before I go back to watching Ted Talks about learning languages. And let’s do it in points, so I don’t go off rambling like the tired lunatic I am.

The Format. I hadn’t realised that what I actually paid for was three parties, one conference day with catering and access to custom workshops… Which I would have to pay for separately. And oh, I also get the videos of the talks. Jaay!*

I obviously hadn’t signed up for workshops. Please, let’s not go there. I also did not go to the first get-together party. I was lured to the second one with a promise of two secret talks and a possibility to interact with social ventures looking for various support. Interesting idea BUT execution failed here. If I were to invite ventures to hang around for an evening, I would give them air time and use that tiny stage to give ventures voice and platform to talk about their achievements. The promised talk was a 5 min remark from Dan Ariely, which I did not get entirely, to be honest with you all. But tired applause for the effort.

Venue of the Conference. Prague Congress Centre is b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l. Modern, accommodating, easy to get to and very open-spaced with its tall ceilings and large windows. Massive queue in front of the ladies still happened. Side question: women, how do you spend so much time in the toilet? Was I bypassed by this secret knowledge? Is there something woman-ly I have not been doing in the toilet for the 30 years of my life? Do tell.

Content. The most important part of the one-day event. The day started with a bang with an awesome presentation by Wil Reynolds. Key points: rank for what you actually do and want to be known for; adjectives impact content fit; embrace data. Following that bomb was Christopher Wylie, formerly of Cambridge Analytica, who wasn’t supposed to be 2nd to present. There was something weird going on and instead of forecasting and data security, he delivered a riveting speech about his experience and then spent some time sharing very swear-y responses regarding tech giants and their abusive data practices. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good swearword-fest. When Jono Alderson waltzed onto the stage I wasn’t overly excited. He almost changed my mind about the issue of platform ownership – he championed brands being where the customers are meaning Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Co. without worrying too much about, who owns the platforms. I strongly advise the opposite – investing time and effort into the most common small business owners online presence touchpoint = website and cascading content down to externally owned platforms. I say that he almost convinced me because he kept going on about brand inserting themselves into people’s lives and becoming memorable, but then couldn’t remember the brand of the dishwasher he finally bought after a considerable amount of time spent researching.

Dan Ariely, whom I had not known before #mktfest, was…fine. I wasn’t particularly impressed with his talk, preferring Seth Godin and his structured approach and presentations free of marriage jokes.

I will skip to Kirsty Hulse, who was the only woman speaking. I liked her creativity lecture but I haven’t heard anything new. Mark Ritson delivered a great finish talk, waking everyone up with old-school animations, hardcore imagery, straightforward case studies and general merriness of a man waiting to get wasted. One of the points I really memorised from his marketing targeting lecture was to use your brand colour and visual assets on everything until you get sick of both. Only then you have succeeded with driving your brand identity to the forefront.

Honorary mention goes to Britney Muller, who MC’d the event. The primarily Czech audience was not ready for American awesome’s thrown around like candy. I want to say that her insistence for going from one talk to another without much input from her was part of the plan but I wish she had brought her industry knowledge to the table. For example, I am sure she would have been better at interviewing Christopher Wylie on stage than Stéphane Hamel.

That’s that. I will definitely go again next year because the few talks that I really liked were extremely valuable.

MKT Festival 2019 - 3

*A portmanteau of Ja (German for “yes”) and yay, an expression used to signalise joy. Therefore “Jaay” stands for “Yes to joy”.