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Ad:tech launches first mobile marketing pavilion

Ad:tech, the nation's leading interactive advertising trade show, has set its sights on mobile with the launch of a mobile marketing pavilion for its San Francisco conference next month.

The mobile marketing pavilion will have 12 exhibitors with workstations and a presentation space. Exhibitors include NeuStar, i-Loop, CellTrust, Bango, Proteus, 3Cinteractive, LSN Mobile and this publication.

"The purpose of the mobile marketing pavilion is to provide an opportunity for ad:tech attendees, for the first time, to review mobile marketing solutions and services on the show floor," said Don Knox, global vice president at ad:tech Expositions, Larkspur, CA.

"Obviously mobile is beginning to play a bigger role for today's marketers, so ad:tech can provide a platform for introducing new technologies, discussing the advances, advantages and pitfalls of using mobile as part of a larger cross-platform strategy," he said.

The April 15-17 show in San Francisco's Moscone Center will also include three educational track sessions put together with the Mobile Marketing Association.

The titles of those tracks are "Exchange Series V: What Can Mobile Do for You? A Mobile Marketing Primer"; "The Truth about Mobile Advertising and Branding"; and "Traditional Media Gets a Digital Infusion through Mobile."

Jeremy Wright, global director of mobile brand strategy at Nokia Ad Service, is a keynote speaker.

"Mobile continues to pique the interest of marketers and advertisers as it matures and the devices mature in the U.S.," Mr. Knox said. "From local search, payment and kiosk systems to branding and advertising opportunities, marketers are seeing the benefits of relying on mobile to reach consumers.

"Everyone seems to sense that we're on the verge of a big breakthrough in mobile, as consumers are stepping away from their PCs and relying on these mobile devices more and more, and in that sense, it's a logical extension of today's marketing plans," he said.

Several firsts
All told, the San Francisco ad:tech will have 50 sessions, more than 200 speakers, four tracks and of course, the mobile-specific sessions.

While there are some similarities with last year's show, there are marked differences, too.

"What we're finding is a similar number of exhibitors, but most are taking larger booths," Mr. Knox said. "Show delegates are showing an increase of around 5 percent."

The San Francisco show, given its proximity to Silicon Valley, is known for offering attendees a glimpse of technology such as TV 3.0, mobile, fourth screen, display search and advertising and online video.

Take some of the sessions. One session on widgets and gadgets is titled, "Making Widgets and Gadgets Work for You." Another session on the fourth screen is named "Urban Wallpaper: Digital Signage and the Rise of the Fourth Screen."

Then there's a keynote session with live teens on stage that's titled, "Keynote Roundtable: You Don't Know Jack! Teens Speak Out." And let's not forget one for the green crowd: "Exchange Series IV: Green Marketing in the Digital Age -- Establishing Credentials While Sidestepping the Landmines."

In other firsts, ad:tech will be filming an Internet TV show as its closing keynote. "Internet Superstar," a Revision3 online show, will be filmed in its entirety at the show, with guests including Diggnation's Kevin Rose, AskANinja's Kent Nichols, Tiki Bar TV's Jeff Macpherson and's Gary Vaynerchuk.

Also, for the first time, ad:tech will introduce the Exchange Series track of sessions. This boardroom-meets-the-classroom-style of workshop sessions is meant to be more intimate and engaging than a typical panel-format session. Session presenters will interact with the audience and share peer-to-peer experiences.

Multichannel reality
This year's ad:tech San Francisco doesn't have a theme per se. But the organizer is relying on a tag line, "Brand strategy and the emerging world of digital marketing."

"Marketing is no longer just traditional or interactive, but rather marketing is encompassing both worlds," Mr. Knox said.

"And as we're seeing more of the marketing spend become digital, we're attracting more traditional marketers and traditional media," he said. "We're broadening the definition of marketing at ad:tech to encompass this new landscape."

Mobile marketing fits squarely within this landscape.

"We're seeing mobile rapidly advancing around the world and the U.S. is playing catch-up," Mr. Knox said. "A lot of what can be done will be determined by the carriers, but many marketers see mobile as an opportunity to extend their messaging, branding and more and more advertising opportunities.

"I don't think a lot of marketers are looking at mobile as a sole platform," he said, "but rather they do see the value in using it as part of a larger campaign or messaging across multiple platforms."