This week at A4U Expo Gillian Cook was our ‘guest’ since she won the ticket to the conference. Gillian wrote down her experiences for us, which you can find below.
I was delighted to win the a4u competition last week. I’ve never been to an a4u expo and it was a great opportunity to go out to the event, visit Barcelona and meet Bas of course! Never one to pass up new opportunities, I was excited to learn more about the world of affiliate marketing.
Before the Conference
Having lived in Barcelona for over a year, I took it upon myself to become the Quaturo team’s city guide. On Monday we met one of our clients over a late lunch and afterwards, I went back to my hotel to scour the conference’s agenda. After a bit of research, I identified three sessions that I thought would be invaluable to my development and headed off out with my colleagues to the first evenings drink reception.
Variety of Delegates
One thing that immediately struck me was the diverse backgrounds of the people I met that night. I spoke to people who came from all over the world (from San Francisco to Sydney to Germany to Greece) who were working for such varied websites and businesses. It made me realise the opportunities that exists in digital if you take a creative approach and work hard.
At The Conference: Day 1
First day of the conference and the first session I attended was a bit of a flop. It began with the two presenters apologising about their presentation, which really should have been my cue to leave. a4u delegates pay hundreds of euros to attend and at this point I thought of the contrast with Brighton SEO, a free conference full of insight and actionable tips and tricks.
Luckily though, despite the disappointing start to the conference, the following sessions did improve. These inspiring presentations were much closer to what I was after:
- Dr Karl Blanks argued a compelling case for conversion copywriting. Knowing your product inside out and being able to sell it in real life is the first step to writing great copy.
- Graham Cooke engaged us with an interesting view to the future of ‘big data’. He discussed the emergence of the ‘single customer view’, identifying customers and bringing together information of how they’ve been affected by multiplatform marketing activities.
Stacked with my new Quaturo business cards I challenged myself to give them out to as many useful contacts as I could throughout the day. With plenty of breaks in between sessions and a lengthy lunch break there were many opportunities to meet and talk with other delegates.
The organisers of a4u really place great importance on networking and after the first day we all headed to a club on the Barcelona beach front. The free drinks flowed and everyone was in a good mood which made it easy to mingle. I came back to the hotel with only two of my own business cards left and a whole host of others, not bad for a day’s work!
At The Conference: Day 2
Despite many hungover faces on day two, the conference didn’t fail to deliver some great presentations. My favourite talk of the day came from Mary Keane Dawson who gave some invaluable business advice for digital leaders and budding entrepreneurs. With such a variety of delegates the conference didn’t fail to deliver something useful for everyone.
Going Home & Following Up
Unfortunately, as soon as the conference ended we were straight in a taxi to the airport. I’m currently following up on Twitter, LinkedIn and email the people I met there in Barcelona. It was refreshing to hear a mix of different perspectives on how other digital marketers are responding to the challenges of our environment. With such a big emphasis on networking and meeting people, the conference has allowed me to meet people that simply wouldn’t attend SEO conferences in London and introduce them to Quaturo, a new content marketing agency based in London.