Recently, our account managers and support team at Microsoft invited the Clicky PPC team to attend a Europe wide event – their Discovery Days Dublin event.
This was the first of its kind, and something that would showcase Microsoft and Bing Ads’ aims for the future, and a great opportunity to meet some of our past and present account support staff who work with us as a part of the Bing Select Partner programme.
Travelling on Tuesday morning we arrived in Dublin around midday with some time to explore and enjoy some local entertainment (and Guinness), before venturing to the Morrison Hotel situated on the Liffey in central Dublin.
The Tuesday evening event promised to cover some areas of business surrounding inclusion and diversity. The event began with speeches from Sean O’Connor (Director of Marketing EMEA) and Deb O’Sullivan (Director Of Sales APAC) about the importance of inclusion. This led on to a thought-provoking and interesting panel discussion around inclusion and how it can help drive innovation in business. Then, to get the audience involved in the discussions, we engaged in a workshop discussing several scenarios where behaving with more empathy and inclusivity can help solve a range of issues, in and out of the workplace.
Working with clients here at Clicky we regularly put ourselves in the shoes of our clients and their target audiences, so the workshop certainly rang true for us and helped renew our understanding of clients and partners we work with day in, day out.
Refreshments were provided afterwards, with an opportunity to speak with fellow advertisers from all parts of Europe, as well as internal and fellow agencies. The night didn’t go on too long, with a 7:55am pickup time the next day for our trip to Microsoft’s impressive 34,000 sqft campus, just south of the city.
In the morning over breakfast, there were two interesting seminars; one showcasing innovative Hololens technology, showing some interesting Augmented Reality applications. The second, a thought-provoking speech from Jason Miller (EMEA Brand Lead @ Bing Ads), who discussed personal branding through content. His energy and enthusiasm encouraged some interesting ideas on ways we can build authority and brand strength via content, whilst showcasing your unique perspective and style. Certainly plenty of food for thought for ourselves as marketers, and our colleagues in our content production team.
In the afternoon we had a number of keynote speeches that spanned a lot of key areas for Microsoft and Bing. Many talks were linked towards the growing influence of AI, with plenty of interesting uses, some scarier than others (self-driving cars taking the wheel whilst you work on an urgent presentation was quite a leap into the future).
We also got an exciting glimpse into the new features soon to be added to Bing Ads’ platform for paid search experts like ourselves. Some of those features were being released as imminently as the day after the conference, but many future features looked to be great additions to Bing Ads’ offering for our clients. For example, Action Extensions where a Call To Action button will be shown alongside your ads was a particular highlight – especially as they will be fully customisable, unlike similar options with Facebook Ads for instance.
After a long day of keynote speeches, we were transported to the famous Guinness Storehouse for two final speeches from Lynne Kjolso (VP Global Sales @ Microsoft) and Professor Ian Robertson to bring the day’s formalities to a close. We were then free to tour the famous building and brush up on our bar skills – we learned how to pour the perfect pint of the dark stuff. We were also treated to a 3-course meal and entertainment. We were sat alongside our Microsoft account managers as well as fellow Bing advertisers, which was great as it is always nice to meet similar professionals – even if the subject matter was more Netflix recommendations and how we think Game of Thrones will end!
All in all, the two-day event was an excellent insight into Microsoft and Bing’s future plans. With this being the first event of its kind, Microsoft were really keen to get feedback from attendees on what could be improved for future events. Myself and Kelly really enjoyed meeting our account managers, getting to put faces to the names we often only speak via phone calls and emails.
On top of thanking Microsoft for their wonderful hospitality and effort into putting together a diverse and interesting programme of talks and activities, we’d also like to thank our account manager, Laura, as well as Patricio and other members of Microsoft’s team who we’ve worked with during our time as Bing Select Partners.