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Commoditization and grumblings: MediaPro Expo 2011 learnings Part I

Matt McNeany

Matt McNeany

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Sector life and death, a lack of excitement, plus an absence of media folk and big ideas. Part one of our tardy review of MediaPro Expo 2011

Web-to-Print is done

My main observation of MediaPro Expo 2011 is that the web-to-print space is established and it is becoming commoditised. I also learnt that you shouldn’t fill your seminar panel with middle-class men in their fifties to talk about technology.

More on that later. When Code started dynamically generating print ads from data (over 10 years ago… ouch!), we spent much of that time educating clients and agencies on why this is a good idea (faster, cheaper, more targeted etc).  At this show, it’s now clear that the space has matured, with a lot of vendors offering functionality in the area. I guess the main point to note here though is that just as the web-to-print sector matures, the print industry dies.

Where’s the excitement?

Back to the panel of fifty something middle-class white males talking about technology. Adgistics’ seminar on Brands and Technology promised a lot.  This is prime debating territory about the massive challenges facing brand owners and their creative partners in a world where the ‘professionals’ have lost control of the means of communication.

The result however was god-awful, with a long-in-the-tooth panel, reminiscing about the glory days and saying how hard it is these days now the amateurs can publish too. It is hard(er) but, more importantly, it is fantastically liberating too.  Technology is creative.  It gives brand owners unparalleled means of engaging with their audience and building relationships – you just need to have something relevant and interesting to say.  Which this panel didn’t.

No more DAMs, please

It’s done.  

Everyone’s got one, called Flickr or Facebook.  And no one ever really cared in the first place.

A good event… but could do better

A big positive for me is that this is the right idea for a show. The increasing overlap and interplay between data, production, print and digital needs a forum – and it’s good to have MediaPro filling that space. That said, there are two key things missing for me – the Media (ironically) and also the visionaries; people who can set the agenda for the industry and then relate that to the practical steps that brand owners and their agencies need to take.