I’ve been a big fan of Econsultancy for years. Their research, training and other services are hugely valuable and their blog is a great source of information.
With that in mind, my expectations were high for their first JUMP event, held today at Old Billingsgate in London. Over 1,600 people attended and I’ve no doubt their expectations were pretty high too. Although many were fortunate enough to get a free invite from one of the event sponsors (thanks to Daniel and Alan at the marvelous Just Digital for mine), the full price was a whopping £895. To justify that sort of cost, an event has to deliver some serious value.
Billed as being “all about joining up online and offline marketing to get better results”, JUMP was aimed squarely at both digital and offline marketers. The day combined a packed conference schedule with exhibition stands from solution providers and the opportunity to network with industry peers. Running across five tracks, the conference agenda featured presentations from many high-profile names from leading brands. The level of interest was certainly very high and every session was full.
But did JUMP deliver the value it promised? Regrettably not. And that’s a real shame, because it could have been THE event of the year.
The organisation was efficient, but there was disappointment aplenty about the lack of wifi (at a “joined up” digital marketing conference) and astonishment that everyone got just one free coffee all day. Lunch was provided, although that wasn’t much to enthuse about either. These are the sorts of minor niggles that would be easily forgiven at many events, but with such a high ticket price they were an understandable source of dissatisfaction.
More importantly, the quality and content of the conference presentations were for the most part uninspiring, bland and very generalised. There’s a practical limit to how much useful information can be delivered in under 30 minutes of course, but other conferences manage it and there seemed to be virtually no attempt to give people specific actionable ‘takeaways’.
As a number of people commented to me, there were lots of buzzwords, lots of talk about multi-channel this and joined-up that, and a nauseating number of people claiming that “this is new” (which it most certainly isn’t). Overall, it was all rather underwhelming and lacking in substance.
Even the panel sessions I attended (in the ‘Lead’ and ‘Optimise’ tracks) didn’t deliver anything that five minutes on Google wouldn’t. The consistent theme of the questions coming from the floor was social media and its integration with search engine marketing. I’m not convinced anyone discovered anything helpful, but perhaps the basic nature of the questions is evidence of a persistent demand (even from contemporary marketing professionals) for generalised signposting and reiteration rather than powerful insight.
The feedback being posted on Twitter tonight with the #JUMP hashtag is mixed. Some people seem delighted with the day. Others clearly have opinions closer to mine and are sharing “disappointment” and being “very cross”.
Trying to pick some positive bones out of the day, it was encouraging to hear how the importance of intelligent analytics is accepted as a fundamental element of successful digital marketing. There were also votes of confidence in the value of research and consultancy, as well as some enlightened emphasis on business cultural change and staff training and development.
Of the presentations I saw, “Truly Social” by Rowan Gormley of Naked Wines was the only highlight. The ‘Naked’ business model, and indeed their whole ethos, is inspiring and refreshing. They’re one of the very few businesses (not just in the UK) who really “get it”. Smart CEOs and Marketing Directors would do very well to learn by their example. The thread of comments about Naked Wines on the Econsultancy site from earlier this year provides a great example of social media in action and the benefits of having loyal and highly-engaged customers.
Lastly, I’d like to congratulate Paul Walsh and his team at Infinity Tracking for launching their cross channel solution that “closes the loop” between online and offline goal tracking. If the integration of meaningful call tracking into your analytics is relevant to your business, I’d recommend you find out more.
If you were in the crowd at JUMP today, what were your impressions and highlights?