A Look Back at The Festival of Marketing: Exceeding in the Expectation Economy | DMA

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A Look Back at The Festival of Marketing: Exceeding in the Expectation Economy


The Festival of Marketing is one of the most anticipated gathering of marketing professionals and brands in the UK marketing calendar. It is a chance to hear industry heavy-hitters tackle some of marketing's hottest topics, forecast trends and an opportunity for brands and agencies to show off some of their best work from the previous year.

We unleashed some of our team members onto the Tobacco Docks to gather as many insights as they could from the two-day conference - and see how many free pastries they could blag.

Here is what our Client Account Director Toby Kesterton had to say:

In the new 'expectation economy' it is hard for a conference to constantly improve when the demands of the delegates are growing exponentially. If anyone saw my Out-Of-Office, I was positively giddy with excitement at getting tickets to The Festival of Marketing 2015, so the event organisers had a lot to live up to.

They planned to be disruptive. For example, by avoiding ‘yet another chicken dinner with a decent comedian’, #FOM15 succeeded in persuading me to visit the awards ceremonies a couple of times over to see first-hand why people had won in their category.

Monica Lewinsky deserved her standing ovation for standing up to the negative aspects of our industry and the plea for compassionate branding. I felt Commander Chris Hadfield deserved one as well for the hope and inspiration the brand Hadfield offers. I did wonder how rehearsed his speech was but this Q&A was a redeeming factor. He certainly challenged me to define my own personal perfection.

Sir John Hegarty gave an eloquent masterclass in persuasion vs promotion. Sitecore has a neat device of taking an existing site and demonstrating how it can be done better with clever technology. Sir John Hegarty trumped this by demonstrating how his own 10-year-old Lynx TV advert could be done better with technology accelerating creativity.

In hindsight, the tragic comedy that was Lord Sugar gave the conference two days’ worth of running jokes. For me, he was the living breathing embodiment when Commander Chris Hadfield said the dinosaurs died out because they did not have a space program.

Marketing Tosser - Lab Digital Agency at FOM 15

Hat tip for Tealium on getting their "Proud to be a marketing tosser " t-shirt out so quickly.

Over the course of the two-days, I always felt that I was amongst like-minded people who understood the Consumer Age and the importance of delighting customers. Marketing Week foresaw that we might get cold when watching the fireworks (and drinking cinnamon mojito's) – so they gave us blankets. The caterers might have been overwhelmed (and a little slow) on the first day but on the second, when I objected to £3 for chocolate brownie and offered £2, the barista immediately gave the brownie for free. I think if I had been at Tobacco Docks for a third day I would have happily paid £3 for a brownie - don’t worldviews move fast.

Going in with high expectations from Qubit on their take on the "expectation economy", from whom I am copying for my subject, I felt there was little new thought leadership. Time and again, the sessions shed light on new insights and best practices on the same memes of personalisation, customer experience and digital transformation. The brands that have mature programmes are seeing exponentially increasing ROI and several people spoke about seeing repetitive 2% increases building a much bigger cumulative impact.

The practical examples of the 'expectation economy' showed how we as individuals - and as crowds - are changing in the Consumer Age:

Uber looked at the willingness of Londoners to wait for a cab. In 2013, the average person would wait eight minutes. Yet 12-months down the road, the wait threshold was down to seven minutes. Interestingly enough, the longer Uber is in a city, the less willing we are to wait.

Driverless cars: A journalist getting their first ride went from terrifying to thrilling, to utterly boring in 15 minutes. Rather than being at dismayed by this, we empathised.

Driverless Cars - Festival of Marketing ANdrew McAfee

Each session had its high points and I kept wanting to see more. I found myself picking up slides in other rooms that other people were sharing on Twitter and wanting to hear the answers to questions posed on Slido, again in other rooms.

A few shout outs:

Loveloney.com was revealing and titillating. Showing the dark secrets and exact results (£3,377,527) of some of their split tests made them more authentic as a brand.

Doc Martens showed the power of cohort segmentation in looking after their tribes. An action for me is to take a second look at GA interest segments for my key clients.

RFU was equally right to do the opposite and merged their personas as big CRM data showed the complexity of customers. In the session we also saw Twitter in action as a delegate, asking the RFU about Stuart Lancaster's resignation before any major media broke the news. Understandably the RFU's Head of CRM ducked the answer..

Worldpay did an excellent job of demonstrating Turtl.co presentation software and drove many people to Turtl's stand in the corner of the festival. If only Worldpay's content had been as good as the tool.

MBNA delivered a good case study in digital transformation and facing the massive disruption in the banking sector that the CEO of Metro Bank and Atom Bank spoke about. We hoped that MBNA had not done it too late. For a bank to say that their digital team now had more data and reports than the finance team showed the size of their transformation.

Festival of Marketing

In summary...

I was happy to meet new vendors and chat with existing partners. My favourite stands were the Thunderhead's VR introduction to big analytics, the pancakes from Monetate and the Lego from my friends at Drupal (although my seven-year-old girls make better models).

Hopefully I can pay my dues by helping some of the new contacts we made. My colleague Andrea and I have several follow up meetings as a result.

In the end, I felt we deserved our Guinness World record (I am waiting for my certificate). And not for just the one masterclass but for the whole Festival of Marketing.

Congratulations to everyone.

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