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Thousands flock to biggest Digital Edge event to date

 Thousands flock to biggest Digital Edge event to date
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Over a thousand delegates headed to the Vodadome in Midrand for the Nedbank Digital Edge Live 2013.

“We set out to create an event that was both engaging and entertaining. The aim this year was to explore what the concept of Intuitive Customer Experiences means for the future of marketing with the purpose of moving away from hackneyed marketing strategies. We hope we achieved that yesterday,” says Loki Magerman, Marketing Manager from NATIVE and event organiser.

Jarred Cinman, MD of NATIVE, and Saul Kropman, Head Facilitator of Digital Edge Academy, opened the event and welcomed the first speaker, Martin Coady, Director of Technology VML, to the stage. Martin touched on forces shaping the Web and how technology’s role should be to change people’s lives for the better. The crowd was entertained by three ‘morph’ characters who popped up from time to time and a brilliant sketch artist who illustrated throughout each presentation.

Fran Luckin

The first panel discussion was kicked off with Jeremy Maggs as moderator and focussed on how online business has forced a rethink between marketing and technology departments. The debate was wrapped up with the ideas that agencies need to stop believing that clients know nothing. Furthermore organisations need to embrace the concept that marketing is not the marketing department’s problem alone and that creatives need to be as excited about tech as the tech departments are.

Sydney Mbhele, Divisional Executive of Nedbank, then stepped up to share Nedbank’s Ke Yona campaign concept followed by a heated panel debate on the importance of ROI in advertising.

Twitter was overrun with the event feed trending throughout the day.

As the afternoon progressed, delegates heard from Quirk’s ECD, Fran Luckin, who shared her thoughts on the complex world around us; Jason Xenopoulos, CEO of NATIVE, who unpacked the Intuitive Customer Experience concept, Alistair Fairweather, CTO of Mail & Guardian, on generating user-centric content and Ogilvy Cape Town’s ECD, Chris Gotz, who showcased the white horses at Sea Point highlighting how agencies need to build stories around people in order to remain relevant in the Digital Age.

Crowd

Then it was time for the man everyone had been waiting for ­– Harper Reed, CTO of the Obama for America campaign. Harper jumped into three thoughts: building a great team, practicing failure, and facilitating community. Using his time at Threadless.com and the Obama campaign as examples he highlighted the importance of having the right team assigned to the right task and how by practicing failure you can set up fail safes ensuring no down time. Lastly he pointed out that community is the number one asset in any campaign and needs to be empowered to build good online neighbourhoods.

“Harper ended the day on a high. The day would not have been what it was without the incredible line-up of speakers who gave up their time to be with us. We extend our thanks to them. We’d also like to thank Nedbank, our title sponsor, and all partners: Everlytic, Primedia, ENCA, Maggs on Media, Bizcommunity, Memeburn, Techsmart, and Your Business Magazine, for making this event possible,” says Magerman.

“We believe this event will continue to grow year on year and will be looking at another action-packed line-up for next year’s event. We look forward to seeing you then,” he concludes.

Sydney Mbhele

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