Day One of ProcureCon Marketing – Programmatic Media and Malt Whiskey

Yesterday saw the first day of three of this year’s ProcureCon Marketing event. After last year’s sell-out, it has moved to the more spacious Russell Hotel, a spectacular 1900s venue with gorgeous and slightly over the top carvings and statues in the main public rooms. The breakout / exhibition room is particularity spectacular.

I suspect registrations are up at the 200 level, with around 150 in place for the first session at 9am yesterday. The delegates were generally at “Head of Marketing Procurement” level, over 50% were none UK, well over 50% were procurement practitioners, and it’s also good to see it is very evenly balanced male / female. Most were big firm representatives – Coca-Cola, Schipol Airport, Merck, Baxter Healthcare, RBS, etc. I wonder whether the folk from Coke and Adidas – also there – might have used the occasion to get their heads together, put a call in to Mr Blatter and tell him to go if FIFA wanted their sponsorship to continue ...!

ProcureCon 2105Now I must confess, I had no idea what “programmatic” meant until yesterday, when the whole morning was devoted to the subject. We will come back with a more detailed look at this next week, but the first issue identified was that it means different things to different people.  It is used to describe an automated, computerised approach to media buying, mainly on-line media, but is also increasingly used to describe a wider approach which offers a highly personalised, precise and targeted  approach to media spend and placement.

So you know how when you look at a random website, and an advert pops up for holiday cottages in France, and you think “how did they know I was thinking about holidays in France”? That is “programmatic” advertising. One day you might even get TV adverts aimed at you personally! So it was a real learning experience for me, being new to this aspect of marketing services buying, and the session with three guys from the supply side (Havas, Xaxis, Channel Four) was particularly useful I thought. Hearing about marketing procurement at Expedia - a real business of the digital age (and one I use a lot) - was another highlight.

In the afternoon, it was different “table discussions” - several looked very interesting but of course you can only do one at a time! I was in a small but very good group talking about getting innovation from digital providers – which broadened out somewhat into a wider chat about SRM and supplier innovation generally. My only negative really was that the final session was another in a group discussion format, and most of us were still in the same groups as for the previous session. Much as I enjoyed the company of the team, it might have been good to swap people around a bit at that point.

But the quality of the speakers / interviewees was generally good, the content appeared to be very relevant to the delegates, food and organisation was excellent, and people seemed to be enjoying the whiskey tasting when I left at 5pm. (One of the few forms of alcohol I don’t enjoy, unfortunately).

I’m doing our Real World Sourcing event with BravoSolution on Wednesday, so our Editor, Nancy Clinton will be at ProcureCon for most of the day, so we will also hear from her too next week on more highlights.

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