This post aims to share some insights from the first day of Festival of Marketing 2015 (FOM15) in London. The idea of bringing 32 participants from our International Master in Marketing EADA to this event is simple: provide a quick and intense immersion into the latest practice in Marketing and the issues that leading professionals are facing.
What follows is a summary of my experience of the first day that the themes emerging at event.
My day began with some insights from the CEO of a leading recruiting company. The most notable flash of data provided was the word that has most increased its presence in job listings in the last ten years: “pressure”, or more precisely, the “pressure to perform”, which has increased more than 2000%. Interesting when research says that the new generation of professionals wants flexibility, diversity and skills.
The session didn’t provide anything groundbreaking, but it did help set the theme for the day. Amongst all the noise around “the new” (the hype), what is actually real change and which fundamentals remain solid at the core of our professional practice? This was nicely reflected in some advice to young professionals: data is going to be at the core of everything you do; you have to demonstrate a real and broad interest in business; and potential employers are going to check out your “social footprint”.
Next up was an interesting panel discussing the ROI of “Content Marketing”. For a marketing geek, this had an added appeal: the contrast between the Marketing Director of classic (and old) FMCG brands and the irreverence of the media champion of the “millennial generation” – Vice Media. In this sense, it didn’t disappoint.
The Marketing Director of Premier Foods (Oxo, Bisto) presented a solid view of content as part of an integrated marketing plan, complementing media with broader reach rather than replacing it. It was especially comforting to see this solidly linked to key concepts such as brand promise, proposition, benefit laddering and contextual value.
The representative of Vice Media played out the expected role: dismissing at a stroke decades of rigorous research as “the type of academic bullshit you hear in boardrooms”. Apparently most of us just don’t get it and the new generations are a totally different type of human being in terms of how they react to media, marketing and brands. The importance of reach, mental saliency tied to purchase situations and a long etcetera, just don’t have relevance anymore.
That line of reasoning is not going to win any awards for rigor. However, his company wins many awards for the quality of its content and it is undeniably successful. In fact, this line of reasoning is at the core of Vice Media’s proposition to their target and to their investors.
Beneath the apparent superficiality, there is a fundamental question that should concern Marketers and those of us who teach Marketing. And it should concern us a lot. The question is this: are new technologies and the ways people use them simply new tools at our fingertips or do the new habits that these technologies allow fundamentally change how people’s brains respond to purchase decisions, brands and marketing? This question is going to be unresolved for some time to come.