Originally published on LinkedIn. Shared with permission.
As I flew home last night from San Francisco after speaking at and attending ON24 Webinar World 2018 (delayed due to winter storm on the east coast) – I was reminded of the first time I traveled to this amazing city. The year was 1968 and it was near the end of an epic three-week family summer adventure. We started with a train ride across Canada from Toronto, made our way from Vancouver all the way south to San Diego and ended up in Denver before flying home. But the brightest memories of that magical journey include visiting San Francisco. It was not long after the “summer of love” and during the height of pop culture of the musical “Hair”. And with that the phrase “this is the dawning of the age of Aquarius” was forever etched into my consciousness as this small boy walked amidst a truly special place and among the “flower children” in the middle of a very special time in history.
Fast forward 50 years. I’m no longer a small boy and my own kids are now in their 20’s — the same age as many of the people I saw during that magical visit to San Francisco a half century ago. I’ve been back many times since 1968 and I always feel a bit sad when heading back east – in this case to a foot and a half of snow and no power in my condo at a toasty 51 degrees (F not C).
My visit to San Francisco was to speak at and attend the ON24 Webinar World 2018 event. I was very fortunate to be the SAP keynote at the inaugural Webinar World 2017 event along with my good friend and SAP colleague Scott Feldman. We had fun noting that 500 people had traveled to a physical event about virtual webinars and this year the audience grew to over 1,000 people. This year I gave a breakout session “The Art & Science of Modern Marketing: Three Key Best Practices for the Journey” focused on three topics of great passion to me – Thought Leadership, the Modern Webinar and Digital Marketing and Performance Management and Analytics all in the context of “the age of Modern Marketing”.
During the conference ON24 gave out T-shirts with the hashtag “#webinerd” and many attendees proudly wore them during the 2-day event. Although you will hear more from me about this event I’ll say that there was as much love and passion in the air for digital marketing and modern webinars at ON24 Webinar World 2018 as there was in the “summer of love” I experienced so many years ago as a child. It’s truly a special time when people aligned around a common purpose all converge and share insight, best practices and yes – the love of what they do. This truly was a celebration of Modern Marketing, the rise of Digital Marketing fueled by the Demand Generation Platform and true Insights- and Data-driven marketing and so much more.
So yes – this is the dawning of the age the Webinerd and with it the wonderful transformation to Modern Marketing fueled by Digitalization and Marketing Technology (MarTech). Thanks to ON24 and everyone who attended Webinar World 2018 for this amazing experience.
Fred is the senior marketing director and BMO Lead for SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud and Digital Business Services Marketing at SAP.