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Too many widgets, too little strategy: MediaPro Expo 2011 learnings Part II

05.11.2011
Matt McNeany

Matt McNeany

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Widgets vs. game-changers and a reminder that the client is king when it comes to Creative Technology. Part two of our tardy review of MediaPro Expo 2011

Nice mousetrap, but it won’t stop the mice getting in

One of the overriding impressions of the show was just how ‘widgety’ it all felt.  Lots of time spent comparing mousetraps, not much time spent addressing the needs of the client in a time of media transformation and extreme budget pressure. To be fair, there was a lot of very clever thinking on display.  Great functionality to achieve all sorts of improvements to marketing implementation – but generally the message was over-complicated and self-serving (‘if you use our widget, this slice of your process will be better’) and not nearly enough guidance to clients and brands on strategic direction and what practical steps to take to achieve technology-driven transformation. Speaking to clients we met there, they often said the same thing: ‘I don’t understand what all this can do for me, and no-one’s making me want to find out.’ Scary stuff for exhibitors, and not just because of the cost of a stand.

Speaking to clients we met there, they often said the same thing: ‘I don’t understand what all this can do for me, and no-one’s making me want to find out.’ Scary stuff for exhibitors, and not just because of the cost of a stand.

Where’s the next game-changer?

There were offerings from the data/printing world that were often coupled to print production solutions.  These are great for more personalised junk mail and catalogue production – but both of these are obviously in decline. Similarly, many vendors were now offering solutions for press advertising – although the ability to intelligently re-size an ad is still not ubiquitous and any solution that doesn’t offer this is not really fit for purpose.

There were also more InDesign-based solutions (really these are components, not enterprise solutions), which is good to see as these solutions reduce templating time and improve quality, despite costing more.  Most proprietary web-to-print solutions have (rightly) died away, although I did see one from Chili that looked OK at first glance.

Creative technology is about the client

Creative technology is the future for marketing and it is the only way forward, but we need to make sure it doesn’t cause us to lose sight of the end goal, to service the clients and give them what they want. The star of the show is not the widget, it’s how visionary thinkers can deploy the widget to achieve effectiveness and efficiencies that just weren’t possible before.