Another year, another Cannes Lions and the advertising industry celebrates all of its glorious achievements. An event like no other, its part-party, part-social network, part-conference, part-Awards ceremony and part-serious business. Everyone mixes these in different proportions. Some never see all the wonderful conference sessions, some never see the parties and some never make it out of back-to-back meetings in sponsored pavilions or terraces. But most have a great time.
What was particularly noticeable this year was the continued transition of Cannes Lions from advertising to marketing. This "Festival of Creativity" now majors more on the science than the art of communications than ever before. As we've migrated to digital interaction, the topics has likewise migrated to big data, programmatic advertising and cross-channel communication. Which naturally has meant the likes of Facebook, Google, twitter, LinkedIn, AOL and MSN have all earned the right to have higher and higher profiles at the Festival over the past few years.
This year, however, has seen the interest in tech bring in more of the "marketing tech" players (many really only focussed on B2B) and straight-down-the-middle tech companies. I was fascinated to see Marketo, Salesforce, Oracle, Workfront, Thunderhead and others all have presences on La Croisette. Now, I don't want to tell these guys how to do their marketing, but I'm not quite sure the Advertising & Marketing fraternity will understand nor register their presence there. After all lead nurturing, pipeline management, project management and workflow is hardly top of mind for agency types. And some of the vendors are not even dedicated to marketing - marketing is just one use case of their technology.
It's a tough gig - as we at Adobe know. Marketers don't want tech - they want to deal with fellow marketers who get their challenges. And it'll take a long time for them to change their perceptions of certain technology providers. We're lucky that our own connection with the marketing community goes deeper than most. Our marketing tech platform is founded on a strong creativity heritage built up over 25+ years and we're the only tech marketing company that bridges creativity (aka advertising) and digital marketing. So Cannes makes perfect sense for us.
Regardless, it's great for the industry that marketing tech providers are getting more profile. And it is indicative of the phenomenal growth we're all seeing in the marketing tech arena. Marketing tech is definitely coming of age but it remains to be seen whether all that sun, Rosé and marketing dollars in Cannes is worth all that effort.