What platforms, brands and agencies hope to get out of the Possible conference in year 2

As the Possible conference gears up for its second year, it faces the possibility of a sophomore slump. After all, year one in April 2023 generated solid attendance of 2,464 as well as a few headlines, mainly courtesy of one Elon Musk, who used his appearance in part to recruit Linda Yaccarino to be his CEO at X. All in all, 200 speakers presented in some form last year.

Year two of Possible is once again being held in Miami Beach, and it will take place from April 15-17 with 3,000 attendees expected to listen to another 200 or so speakers, according to Christian Muche, CEO and co-founder of Beyond Ordinary Events, which powers Possible.

So what are brands, platforms and agencies expecting to get out of the event, which bills itself as the convergence of marketing, media, culture and tech?

Digiday caught up with three speakers who represent different parts of the industry to get their takes on what makes Possible different and what they hope to take away from it.

What does Possible’s mix of content deliver that other major tentpoles don’t?

Colleen DeCourcy, CMO and chief creative officer, Snap

Possible brings some of the most forward-thinking leaders in the industry to talk about new ideas that will disrupt the world of marketing. In contrast to other events, the content feels very focused. … Rather than a series of sales pitches, it feels like a place where we can have real conversations and come together as a marketing community.

Megan Ramm, head of CPG partnerships, Uber Advertising

Attending Possible last year … truly felt like we were writing the future, with a curated, forward-looking set of sessions, especially for marketing. Throughout the conference I saw fresh content, excellent trend-spotting, predictions, a great juxtaposition of speakers, and candid, unscripted discussions. These are all ingredients for an impactful few days in what has become an impressive lineup.

Mathew Smith, svp of data and analytics, UM Worldwide

When you compare Possible to other industry events, you’re going to see a heavier focus on brand/ brand performance marketing and its possibilities. Other conferences have lately been focusing predominantly on technology and performance marketing … so much so that we’ve started to lose a bit of the importance of brand marketing. This is ironic because a lot of what the newer martech/adtech [firms] ha[ve] accomplished has made it possible to prove that brand and performance need to work together.

What do you as a speaker hope to learn, absorb and take away from being part of Possible’s content? 

DeCourcy: As an attendee: Inspiration … whether that’s me going home and still thinking about something someone said, or an idea being sparked that I then bring to the table and workshop with my team. As a speaker, I hope to share some of my learnings as someone who’s been in the industry for a long time and how marketers can think differently when it comes to where they spend their ad dollars.

Ramm: I’m truly energized to be a speaker this year and equally energized to be listening to others. We cannot underestimate how much productivity can be packed into a short time when we are all together. I’m excited to be interacting in a two-way dialogue with so many existing and future partners, colleagues old and new. I’m also looking forward to seeing what ideas and solutions we will come away with together.

Smith: When you have a collection of so many intelligent and forward-thinking people at a conference like this, it’s almost like getting a glimpse into the future. I’m hoping that the content spurs conversations around “the next” in marketing. Topics-wise, the breadth of coverage on AI is what excites me the most. We have all started to adopt AI in some aspects within our business, but I’m looking forward to seeing how others are ideating and actioning with AI and generative AI.

What’s the biggest challenge our industry faces at the moment? And what do you think can help overcome the challenge? 

Smith: The biggest challenge the industry is facing — and will continue to face — is around consumer privacy. With different laws being adopted in different states, the space is fractured. These privacy regulations are going to impact everything from AI to first-party data strategies. As marketers and agencies, we have a responsibility to educate consumers on the data we collect and use to advertise. Consumers will continue to grow skeptical of marketing ethics unless we, as a collective, are transparent about how and what we do with data.

DeCourcy: I believe we’re at a truly critical moment in our industry where the promise of social media has completely shifted from where it began. We’re seeing the real repercussions of social media right now — in fact, we are facing a “friendship recession.” People report having far fewer close friends today than in the ’90s. In a world of unlimited “friending” the opposite should be true, and this pullback in friendship and connection is harmful for many of us and for society. That notion is inherently different on Snapchat. People love Snapchat because they love their friends, and they love talking to their friends. For marketers to break through the vicious cycle of social media, it is important for them to put values ahead of profits and turn to channels that are bringing people together versus tearing them apart.

Ramm: There has certainly been much discussed and written about the deprecation of third-party cookies and how this will change the way we advertise. The personalized tonnage — ad units and clicks — that some channels are used to will continue to be reconsidered by marketers and consumers alike. We will see more importance placed again on contextual signals, platforms with high-quality audiences of their own to offer with a continued migration to those platforms, services and sites that add value to consumers’ daily life.

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