As per data presented at the Great Indian Marketing Summit – IT Edition on Friday, how much you rely on in-person conferences for learning depends on your overall consumption patterns, digital/social vs traditional (experts, websites, research). Hmm. Call me old-fashioned but a conference that allows for lots of interaction is a far quicker way of getting info you need from peers. More so because slightly sensitive issues on say, vendors, is best not put down in writing – whether it be a LinkedIn mail or FB inbox. What do you think? Are you seeing a shift from conferences to online networking and webinars? (You can view the webcast of this event and pictures.)
 
On the other hand, technologies like Skype have reduced the need for in-person meetings for at least certain types of transactions. And in the B2B space, digital technology allows far better connect with individuals than traditional media, blurring the lines between B2B and B2C styles of marketing. One of the intriguing questions raised was can you do “account based marketing” on Twitter? Probably not. But you can on LinkedIn. Another sign of the rapid speed of change in the marketing space. The same kind of disruption was probably last seen when TV entered the mainstream marketing mix. (Would be interesting to read marketing articles of that time and see what they forecast about the demise of radio and print advertising – both are still going strong!)
 
I was intrigued by a comment by Ramki of Cafe Coffee Day at our Delhi CMO Roundtable, that they are in the business of “time pass”. It was very insightful – so many of us are (think movies, magazines, newspapers, conferences, holidays), though very few are smart enough to acknowledge it, and even fewer to monetize it. But as the lines between free time and work time blur, more of us have time to pass than ever before, though with the desire to position it as “useful”. A business opportunity? Think it over!

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