Connections 2014 is the Oscar equivalent of digital marketing conference season.

I had the privilege of experiencing ExactTarget’s Connections 2014 both firsthand at the keynote and expo on Tuesday, and from the confines of my office on Monument Circle. My first impression on keynote morning was twofold: 1) Are there really more than 10,000 marketers in this room right now? And 2) I bet there is no coffee left in the city of Indianapolis. My speculations and amazement were interrupted quickly, however, as the conversation turned to Journey Builder for Apps.

Thus, here are the notables from my Connections 2014 experience.

It’s entertaining to watch marketers try to market to other marketers.
The choice of stories they chose to tell – Fitbit and Live Nation – were unsurprisingly right on track with consumer trends and the interests of the current Gen X/Y power-struggle happening in the workplace.  I personally have a Fitbit, and my top-grossing Instagram posts are often from concerts. While the ability of Journey Builder for Apps to orchestrate messaging across devices is intriguing content, I was more intrigued by the method of delivery. As marketers, we are always told that in order to capture the customer, we must tell a story. Well played Connections, you just captured us all.

Every company is a technology company.
It’s the indisputable truth that marketers must reconcile and embrace. In order to stay relevant to our customers, we must disseminate our best information where the interactions are happening – mobile devices. Furthermore, we must go one step further and extract all of the possible quantitative and qualitative value from these customer interactions. Otherwise, we become a one-way message pathway with no feedback loop. We all know how customers feel about that.

Connections creates a marketing cloud (pun intended).
Bad puns aside, the bubble that Connections creates over the professional community of Indianapolis is remarkable. The hashtag frenzy that occurred over Twitter and Instagram is a case-study worthy example of how to bring 10,000 people who likely compete with each other in some form or fashion together. Another added plus: the bubble was exclusive. As a marketer in the bubble, you were getting the ultimate experience that the marketers outside the bubble can only dream about.

Which brings me to my next point…

They took advantage of the marketer’s fatal flaw: Fear of Missing Out (FOMO).
On Wednesday and Thursday I was constantly checking social media and listening in to the conference. I was jealous of those marketers who had a full three days of orange, but not so much that I wasn’t going to do everything I could to stay in the loop. Connections FOMO’d me good.

Not only did Connections create FOMO, they then gave you a way to feel marginally better about the FOMO via the vimeo and live stream channels. They did this strategically though; you get just enough relief from the FOMO but still don’t feel like you were there completely so that next year, you will make sure to buy in for the whole experience.

In conclusion, the Oscar goes to ExactTarget.