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ad:tech Chicago Keynote Review

Posted on 9.01.2009

ad:tech Chicago kicked off yesterday from Navy Pier with keynote speaker, Rishad Tobaccowala, CEO, Denuo and chief innovation officer, Publicis Groupe Media. Tobaccowala gave some interesting insight into the technology industry. Below are some highlights from his talk.

Tobaccowala reads the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times in paper form every day. He recommends reading it in this form rather than online because you can find information in the paper form that will never find online. He says everyone should also read the book Freakonomics and add a quote from the book, "To understand your customers, you must understand their incentives." In addition, Tobaccowala encourages the idea of "reverse mentoring." He tells his team - who by the way has an average age of 29 - to give him lists of what he needs to learn. Then he spends every morning 4-8 reading up on those areas, and educating himself.

Now is the Golden Age of Marketing, according to Tobaccowala. That means that now more than ever, business professionals must think as marketers. He said, "The only way to talk about advertising is to talk about marketing." People need to cut advertising budgets and spend more time focusing on customer service and relations. It's necessary to listen to what people are saying about your company and talk to them. And make sure you talk to those who are not saying positive things about your company. Tobaccowala said that so often companies look to those who are talking positively about their business, when really detractors are the ones that need a lot of attention. According to Tobaccowala, "Detractors are four to eight times more likely to talk about your brand."

Businesses need to look at social marketing as a whole rather than individually. For example, when a client tells Tobaccowala they want to work on a Facebook campaign, he asks them, "Would you say you want an NBC campaign or TV campaign? You would never say I want an NBC campaign." In addition, Tobaccowala say, "You can't build digital by criticizing TV - that requires no imagination."

Did you attend Rishad's keynote? What did you take away from his speech?

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