June 20, 2019

By Marcos Cline-Márquez / Altered.LA

The Culture Marketing Council Annual Summit has come and gone in the blink of an eye and yet I’m exhausted. Sure I’m out of shape and the older I get the tougher it is to travel, but as I sat down to put my thoughts together about what transpired over the last two days I realized that I’m tired because of the overwhelming amount of information I’ve had the privilege to absorb in such a short period of time.  This year the organizers outdid themselves yet again.  The content of the conferences and the opportunities to meet new people were next to none. Sadly, there was an almost absolute lack of representation at CMC. Let me explain.

Every time I leave the summit I feel better prepared and more in tune with our clients needs yet, once again, the absence of vendors was disheartening. These, of course, being production companies, post houses, audio, etc. (I was the only production company to attend). These are the companies that execute on the creative ideas emerging from the agencies for the benefit of the clients. I get it, CMC has shied away from the creative awards that once dominated the event, but let’s be clear . . . This business is not (just) about awards, it’s about selling more goods and services. That takes strategy, planning, understanding of KPI’s ... terms that make most production companies eyes glaze over. But how do we expect to serve our clients better if we’re not at least demonstrating some interest in understanding what’s driving their decisions? Ideally that interest would be authentic as it helps guide our approach towards resolving their needs.

It’s important to note that this lack of representation is in no part due to the CMC. Think about it, if I got the invites, I’m sure my colleagues at other production companies did as well. This makes me think we’re just not interested in attending or the allure of Texas’ most metropolitan conurbation was too much to behold. So, for your benefit, let me explain what you missed:

You missed the opportunity to question clients whether or not it’s their priority to hire multi-cultural production companies. (It’s not at the top of the list.)

You missed the opportunity to question agencies whether their feel good campaign changed any minds. (It’s hard to measure.)

And you missed the opportunity to learn.

There are a number of important tidbits of information that we, the attendees, were privy too. As I was listening to speakers I managed to jot some of them down. Here are a few in no particular order and without the proper credit so I apologize to the people who uttered these words:

  •     This business, it’s about people.
  •     What got you here, won’t get you there.
  •     Attention, Authenticity, Assistance.
  •     It’s not that Attention Span is short, it’s that we’ve become selective on what to pay attention too.
  •     You’re competing with the best content the audience has ever experienced.
  •     Create emotional connections = be distinct.
  •     Be top of mind to drive and capture desire = be available.
  •     Have purpose and intent.
  •     We all bring value to the marketplace and the industry
  •     Excellence has no ethnicity.
  •     While it’s true Awards don’t matter, you have to believe your work is worthy of an award.

Most of all you missed out on an opportunity to spend time with old friends, colleagues, and yes, competitors. Together we make up an important part of the multi-cultural advertising ecosystem and our absence, while not noticed, was definitely missed. So make it a point to go next year and let’s take ownership of the small, but ever important piece of the advertising puzzle that we own. The storytelling.

See you next year CMC, and thanks for all the fish.

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