May 21, 2019
At the end of March, Carina and Anja took the train to Prague to attend the annual Marketing Festival. Here is everything you need to know before you buy your ticket for 2020.
The main conference hall at the Marketing Festival in Prague 2019
Going to conferences is a fun way to stay up to date with trends in the industry. The combination of Prague, music festival and an impressive list of speakers sounded like a safe bet. So on a sunny spring day, off we went to find out what’s happening in the world of digital media.
And we learnt a lot indeed – you can see a summary of our favourite talks below. First however, here are 8 points with tips and hints for those who are planning to go to the Marketing Festival 2020.
Let’s start with the most important point: All the presentations were excellent. Every single session was both informative and inspiring, and it’s hard to pick a favourite.
All presentations took place in one and the same room, so nobody had to miss anything.
You may want to bring a notepad or laptop. Most talks were recorded but not all of them, and it could be a while until the recordings are available in your account. So if you are planning to share insights with your colleagues on Monday after the festival, it is a good idea to take notes.
Kirsty Hulse on stage at the Marketing Festival in Prague
We recommend attending the optional workshops the day before the actual festival. The selection of topics was interesting and the presenters did a really good job. If you speak Czech you have a broader choice, but the English workshops also offered something in all areas of marketing. The price of 40 EUR for a half-day training session is reasonable. Just be quick to book your place: The English workshops sold out quickly!
If you go for the workshops the day before the conference, it is good to know that they may be outside the city centre. Prices for Uber and MyTaxi are low, but don’t be afraid of the metro. Public transportation in Prague works very well and you can buy tickets at every station.
It is a really good idea to bring some Czech crowns. At some events we could only use cash to get our hands on a Pilsner Urquell.
Throughout the festival, we often struggled to find practical information. If there was a central place where info about venues, events, addresses, schedules etc. was published, we didn’t find it – and neither did other people we talked to.
The best source of information turned out to be Facebook, where we found details about the separate events and photos from the day before.
One thing that attracted us to this festival was the combination of digital conference and music festival. So we were a bit surprised that the musical entertainment was so scarce. There were a few bands playing at the final party, but hardly anyone turned up to watch them – perhaps because nobody knew which bands were playing? At least we didn’t ;)
Luckily there is a lot going on in Prague however, so if you want music during your stay, we don’t think you will have any problem finding something. This year, the Marketing festival coincided with Žižkovská Noc, a great little music festival in selected pubs.
Prague in March
So what was so great about the presentations? To give you an idea of what you can expect, here is a summary of two presentations that we particularly liked. It’s a tough call but here we go:
Anja’s top choice is Kirsty Hulse, (CEO of Many minds and previous stand-up comedian with premium cursing skills) who held a memorable talk about creativity. She started by asking how many people in the audience consider themselves creative. Around half of the participants raised their hands, and Hulse confirmed that this is the result she usually gets. What, only half? But… surely creativity is a human condition that we all have? Yes, this is what Hulse seemed to think too, but clearly around half the population have a perception of themselves as not being creative. Wow. That’s a shame.
Hulse pointed out that research on creativity has found nothing to suggest that creative people are physiologically different from non-creative people. The difference is wholly down to mindset (those who believe that they are creative, create things). Her recommendation is to invest in creativity as a skill – and in a world where half the population haven’t discovered their creative power, this sounds like a very good idea. A good place to start is this book, recommended by Hulse: How to Have Creative Ideas: 62 exercises to develop the mind by Edward de Bono.
Anja and Carina outside the main conference venue
Carina particularly liked Will Reynolds’ presentation about the future of search.
After spending 20 years thinking about what people are writing in the little search boxes, Reynolds (founder of Seer Interactive) knows what counts. And he made it very clear from the start: It’s not X years of experience. Instead, his advice is to train our brains to act like beginners rather than relying on what we have learnt and trusting our gut feeling. So what is it that really matters, then? We heard similar statements by other speakers, but nobody put it more clearly or passionately than Reynolds: SHOW ME YOUR DATA!
Google spends a lot of time trying to understand human behaviour. As marketers, we should do the same. Reynolds’ simple but powerful, and slightly surprising, advice is that instead of worrying about future possibilities like voice search, AI and chatbots, we should focus on understanding our audience. And to find out what our audience wants, we need to start with a good, solid database.
So what is our final verdict – is it worth going? We both think that it is most definitely worth going for the presentations, the workshops and Prague.
Hopefully you have found enough information in this blog post to decide if the Marketing Festival 2020 is for you. If not, feel free to reach out to us. The presentations this year assured us that Making Waves has no reason to replace a team of creative minds with chatbots any time soon.
Anja is a Senior Content Editor with a background in translation, marketing and web publishing. She spends most of her spare time fighting, either with new karate moves or with Polish consonant clusters. Check out the rest of her blog articles at medium.com/anja.
Contact Anja: firstname.lastname@example.org