4 days of intensive seminars, brilliant debates and insightful conversations, all converging for the 2nd edition of #AWEurope which took place in London last week. Even the weather was on our side and that ‘Miami’ sun helped us bridge some continental gaps. So what did we learn from this edition of #AWEurope?

Firstly, it’s all about real-time information. With an impressive 4 days of #AWEurope trending on Twitter and live streaming to thousands of viewers per seminar, first hand information is now accessed directly by the consumer, not just held in the hands of the few. Still, while you can comfortably watch online the latest debates, actually attending this top world event gives you access to something even more powerful than information: people.

And it seems that this word has triggered a lot of buzz throughout #AWEurope. Be it the power of the network, your consumers, your employees, your clients or your social avatars, the future of marketing has “nothing to do with technology, but everything to do with people” (John Allert, MCLAREN). “We’re still talking about people doing business with people” Dora Michail,YAHOO. And the event’s hot topic of “people” was intertwined into the other key issues discussed at Advertising Week Europe: mobile, digital, content marketing or programmatic.

One of the top alarming signals that Advertising Week brought into attention is the widening gap between consumers and brands. Simply put “this pace of change is driven by consumers” (Claudine Collins, MEDIACOM) and “brands are not doing enough to be ready for the change in consumer behaviour” Jon Mew, IAB. As it’s been discussed in the panel Mobile Advertising - the new frontier of digital advertising“the year of mobile already happened; as marketers we are all scrambling to catch up” .

Embracing change, adapting and innovating are among the main priority solutions put up front by leaders in the industry. With an imperative ‘now!’, if I may add.

With a boom in mobile consumer usage, it looks like there’s unparalleled opportunities that businesses can take advantage of through adding value to the user experience. Tapping into this unprecedented pool of possibilities brings us back to the topic of people. With “technology - the leading edge of culture” (Pete Cashmore, Mashable), we need the right people with the right skills in the right position to both implement and keep up with the pace of change. And this shortage of skills, not just in the emerging tech and digital fields (as Peter Markey, RSA mentioned), has been highlighted throughout AWEurope: “We are seeing weaknesses in the system [..]not enough money spent on putting the skill sets where they are needed” Mark Howe, Google.

Placing the right people in the right industries (“It comes down to people: accessing the very best talent in the very best places”, Matthew Barwell Britvic) is fundamental as “the most powerful network = the people whom we work with every day” (Google panel).

And with content marketing being in the spotlight so much that Kristof Fahy, William Hill, said the term was “driving (him) nuts”, it’s the value of your employees that in its turn creates value for your content and your brand, driving consumer loyalty and thus generating revenues.

All in all, Advertising Week Europe highlighted that the industry boils down to talent. It’s talent that builds the next big start-up. It’s talent that writes the best strategy for content marketing. And it’s talent that drives the industry.