A couple of weeks ago, I attended Ad:tech in New York. Despite a few minor obstacles (election night, a nor'easter storm and the after effects of Hurricane Sandy), I was determined to achieve my goal of meeting Mark Cuban.
Session topics ranged from Tablets to SEM to eCommerce and Social, but throughout the conference I was most looking forward to the closing Keynote Presentation “Playing to Win in 2013 – Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google” in which Mark Cuban was a panelist. And it was worth the wait.
Cuban gave his thoughts on Facebook alongside Ian Wolfman, MePlusYou CMO; Julie Roehm, SAP Senior VP of Marketing; and Stephanie Fierman, MediaCom CMO. Each panel member had a viewpoint on why Amazon, Apple, Facebook or Google will win in 2013 (or why they might lose).
The hour long discussion was lively, but all the speakers kept leaning towards Amazon as the winner due to its customer-centric focus. Cuban talked about how Jeff Bezo, Amazon founder, is a future thinker and tends to ignore Wall Street; the launch of the Kindle is one example. Kindle was designed to give users easy access to Amazon, which was the end result. While the tablet does not bring in the initial revenue when purchased like an Apple iPad, it does deliver convenience to Amazon.com and all of its products. Amazon knows its mission, which is building a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online. Everything the company does continues to be focused on that. In the end, a clear mission is why the panel agreed on Amazon succeeding in 2013 and explained that Apple, Google, and Facebook will have trouble because they feel that each company is moving away from their core missions in order to grow revenue and please stock holders.
One company the group agreed might be on the list for 2014 and bump one of the others out was AOL. Tim Armstrong, AOL Chairman and CEO, won the Industry Achievement Award right before the Ad:tech, and panelists discussed how he has made content a focus for AOL, which has started to pay off. The company just reported the best relative revenue results in seven years this past quarter. Having content is key for a good user experience and in today’s digital world should be a key priority.
Throughout the entire panel, I enjoyed the debate amongst the four digital influencers, but I was admittedly distracted by my desire to meet Mark Cuban. Unfortunately, as I walked up to him, he was whisked away… probably back to his plane to Dallas. Maybe next time, Cuban.
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