Last Thursday, the entire Engage Web team took a trip to Manchester to attend the annual sister event of SAScon – SAScon Beta. Well, that is if we were to successfully traverse the Bermuda Triangle of roads that is the M56. On a normal day, the trip would take around 45-50 minutes, but 2 hours later we arrived just in time for the start of the event, just!
The event took place at The Comedy Store on Deansgate Locks, with the venue giving a more intimate and relaxing vibe to that of regular SAScon, which normally makes me feel like I’m back at university.
Trinity Mirror’s Amir Malik got the gig going in an upbeat and interesting talk on programmatics. I’ll admit that this is a subject that I don’t really know much about, but this didn’t stop me from enjoying an enthusiastic and engaging session.
The talks at the Beta event were much shorter than those at SAScon. This made it easier for the speakers to highlight the important messages of their presentations, and much simpler for the audience to take it all in without their mind wandering. This is a sentiment that was definitely shared by my colleagues too. The phrase “less is more” definitely springs to mind here.
Although the theme of the day appeared to be ‘digital transformation’, this didn’t stop me from scribbling down a shedload of stats, definitions and other useful information with a notebook and pen. I guess some things are harder to change, but I found that the morning was rounded off with me writing several pages worth of notes from the presentation given by Branded3’s Laura Crimmons. This one was titled ‘5 ingredients for a successful digital PR campaign’.
Crimmons demonstrated a variety of methods that could be used to ensure that content gets out there and how to form relationships with the likes of journalists. Although it did take a look from the perspective of a PR company, it still provided some very useful information and statistics. It also backed up that we’re doing things right at Engage Web as I thought to myself “ah, we do that too”, making it quite relatable, which was one of her 5 tips!
After eating a hearty lunch, the afternoon session began in a very jovial way with Elizabeth Clarke seeking some crowd participation. Poor John was dragged up on stage to perform some mental arithmetic with former employee, Mark Black, much to the amusement of myself and the rest of the team.
There’s so much that I could write about for this, but it would take far too long – something which our industry doesn’t stand for. One statistic that highlighted this came in Andy Whyte’s talk. He pointed out that it took 38 years for radio to hit 50 million users, 13 years for television, 2 years for Facebook and just 19 DAYS for Pokémon Go*. I thought to myself “woah that’s quick”, before logging into the app to visit the local Pokéstop and catch a Krabby!
As always, the team learns a lot from these talks and it helps us to better ourselves as individuals and as a team. Luckily, we take notes and pictures, because events like this always offer free booze at the end! One for the road before we got back on the hellish M56 and Manchester rush hour traffic.