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Festival of Marketing 2016 - Roundup

The annual Festival of Marketing drew to a close last week and the team had a thoroughly enjoyable two days listening to the latest insight within the marketing industry.

It is one of the largest events of the marketing calendar and fairly unique in the breadth of subject matter that it covers. With 12 different themed stages and a large area for vendors to showcase their latest developments it is always an informative couple of days. We sent a handful of people to sample everything that was on offer and here are their 8 key takeouts from the show:

1) The ongoing conflict between ‘humans’ and ‘technology’

As Rob McGowan, Strategy Director at Response One, has written about in previous blogs, he firmly believes that technology and the advances in AI in particular are fantastic but still need to be carefully managed by humans who are able to apply external insight and experience. This was apparent in a number of talks – unsurprisingly the tech vendors downplayed the issue and the more creative and brand led marketers focussed on the human elements. Rob believes the smarter instances of AI will enable marketers to return to delivering the creative thinking and content the industry was originally based on. AI will suggest a number of options but humans should remain in charge of the decision making.

2) Data fuelling consumer insight

The use of data to understand consumers continues to move at pace. There are a number of options out there right now that enable marketers to create audiences and profiles based on the social posts that an individual makes. Rob thinks there is potential here, particularly if the insight can be linked to other more traditional data sources. Rob added “This development could be significant as it opens a window into the mind of the consumer that few other data sources can match and allows for quick and automated distribution of messaging to likeminded individuals.”

3) Customer Experience: The new battleground

Customer Experience brings into its fold Data, Analysis, Automation, Personalisation and Multichannel. Sameer Rahman, Head of Analytics at Response One, felt there was a clear theme and lots of cited evidence suggesting customer experience will become the main source of competitive advantage going forwards. He added “It is the critical success factor as we move beyond channels and media and into the ‘Experience Economy’”. Jeff Bezos was quoted on customer experience as saying ‘we treat customers as invited guests to the party and work towards delighting them’. Marketing around persuasion is more or less dead and the new marketing is also about customer experience. Experiencing is believing.

4) Putting the customer at the heart of your business

Sarah Keegan, Head of Brand at OVO energy gave a brilliant presentation about their journey as a business and the key element as to why they feel they have been a success – putting the customer first in everything they do. In a very honest delivery Stuart Huke, Marketing Director at Response One, felt that OVO’s success story is a shining example as to why every business should ask some honest questions about whether they truly put the customer first. OVO have structured their whole business around delivering on their brand promises of putting the customer first, even if in some cases this has meant some tough financial decisions surrounding their OVO foundation. Stuart added “as a challenger brand it’s obvious it has been easier for OVO to build a strategy with a customer first approach than it would be for a more established business however, their rapid growth proves it resonates with consumers and that all business could learn from the success they have had and should be focused on changing to a customer centric model – but are businesses ready for the challenge?”

5) The importance of ‘Emotion’

The presentation from Brain Juicer and Undertone made us think. They suggested that every campaign should be planned on emotion and the first question a campaign planner needs to ask is ‘What emotion are we trying to generate?’ Such a powerful thought which can be used across all media/channels including digital. An example from P&G’s ‘it takes someone strong to make someone strong’ was cited as an apt example. Focus on relationships and emotion as ‘the more you feel, the more you buy’.

6) The Data Dilemma

Data is creating a lot of opportunities but the sheer volume of it is making marketers overwhelmed. Call Credit’s survey called ‘The Data Dilemma’ revealed that most marketers are feeling overpowered rather than empowered by data. Getting all the data together is a huge challenge for marketers. The suggestion offered, ‘focus on quality rather than quantity of data and determine your critical customer data’. We don’t need to go after everything.’

7) Moment Marketing

Going forwards, marketing is more and more about moments and how to target customers at the right time. Arsenal’s marketing team presenting at the conference mentioned that it was more about moments within matches rather than the match itself. Econsultancy also talked around targeting customer moments when they are most likely to buy. They gave examples where retailers have started to determine customer mood and recommending clothes based on this variable. Sameer Rahman has published a blog on this topic with the CIM which can be found here.

8) Are you ready for the GDPR?

From what could be heard from the room, it seems many businesses as well as marketeers are not aware of the impact that the GDPR will have on their business or what they should be doing now to prepare. Jayne Clarke from the RNLI gave some great insight into the decision to move to an opt-in only model. However Stuart Huke, Marketing Director at Response One, felt that this was only one issue amongst many of the new GDPR and that data security, database suitability and data policies are a far greater problem for most business. He added “it was asked that as data is dull, how do businesses make GDPR more important to key stakeholders? – 5% of global turnover in fines by not getting GDPR right should do the trick - ALL businesses must look at this as a matter of urgency now.” At Response One we have a number of experts and solutions that can make sure your business is data ready so get in touch today.

The team thoroughly enjoyed the Festival of Marketing getting a chance to meet some great speakers, thought leaders, industry stalwarts and service providers whilst so catching a glimpse of a few celebrities. We were absolutely delighted to see the emphasis on data, analytics and insight in a marketing event, so much so that sometimes we had to remind ourselves that it was a Marketing Event and not a Big Data and Advanced Analytics event. The Marketing world has finally woken up to the fact that ‘data is the oil driving the marketing engine’. We were equally delighted to hear about the emphasis on personalisation and customer experience. After all, it is our role as marketers to ‘identify and satisfy customer needs’, something that is at the heart of Response One’s vision as an agency.