5 Key Takeaways from The Drum: Future of Marketing

We recently attended The Future of Marketing; a day (organised by The Drum) featuring keynote talks from some of the best in the industry of marketing, discussing artificial intelligence and virtual reality to simply knowing your audience to driving future proof marketing insight for your business. At the Mary Ward Conference Centre in London, speakers included those representing the Lad Bible, eBay, IBM Watson and Samsung.

future of marketing

What did we learn learn from the Future of Marketing?

First of all, it was great to learn more about the sheer scale of technology available and the pace in which it is growing. We’re not just talking about the next big social media channel or a change to google’s search algorithms. These changes are very significant in shaping the future of our industry. We’re talking about the consumer inception of artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual reality. All the buzzwords that have been hovering the industry for the past year or so are quickly becoming a reality. B2C marketing will soon be dictated by some of these emerging technologies.

More importantly, we have gained a valuable insight into how some of the industry’s big players plan to harness technology in future marketing. Here are some of our key takeaways from The Future of Marketing:

Artificial Intelligence could come sooner than we think

Opening the event, @DavidJColes discussed what the future of marketing could look like, with the help of IBM Watson. IBM Watson is a piece of Artificial Intelligence like no other, it is a new form of ‘cognitive computing’, very different from the programmable computers that preceded it. Previously, computing solutions are programmed based on rules and logic, intended to derive a mathematical answers that follow a rigid decision approach.

However, with today’s wealth of data, more complex, evidence based decisions are needed. It could be that answers and insights are found within this wealth of data and could be used in innovative ways, such as helping a doctor diagnose a patient, an accountant advising a client or even a chef creating new recipes.

For marketeers, this machine could also provide flexible and considered decisions, to also help maximise communication between consumer and brand, through the vast amount of data it can collect, helping to create contextual and optimal solutions. More specifically, the tone analysis tool aims to match brands and users with similar habits correlating behaviour. For a working example, check out the US North Face website (on a mobile device).

Crowd sourced video content is key

Storytelling is more important to your video content than you may have previously thought. 58% of people already say that storytelling is the most important component of video advertising and now is the time to capitalise on it. Many marketers may feel that they have been priced out of professional video creation, however Seenit proves it can be done effectively. Crowd sourced video that provides an immersive story of your event or product. Turn your users, fans and even employees into a film crew.

@_EmilyForbes explained how the technology startup, Seenit, uses the new trend in Live broadcast and 360° video interactivity to help brands connect better. Seenit allows the consumer to be at the heart of content creation, yet also enables brands to remain control of the content. Watch this space for more big things.

Focus Focus Focus

During one of the breakout sessions, ‘Digital Darwinism’, @Paul__Armstrong, the founder of HERE/FORTH, raised an interesting point that: “You need to have a significant degree of focus to achieve during the tech revolution”. Throughout this discussion, the key message raised was that every piece of marketing, whether it’s content or even the products themselves, needs to have a specific focus on the customer from initial engagement through to retention. The importance of loyalty and customer retention was also highlighted as new tech paves the way for innovative on-the-go loyalty. What remains apparent, is that budgets have to be more carefully considered and there is much more choice for marketers when selecting platforms and anticipating audience location.

Virtual reality is about the experience

One of the more contested talks of the day was from the head of digital at Samsung, focusing on the power of VR technology. It is fast becoming more accessible to everyday consumers and there are already millions of active users downloading VR content via the available store. Fresh from a background built firmly in gaming, the Oculus headsets are becoming more and more affordable and dynamic, thus opening a plethora of opportunity for marketers.

Although the industry seems to focus heavily on the travel industry, we learn’t about some of the key differences between 360 photo/video and VR. The latter requiring some form of interaction and experience to provide a truly immersive experience. Samsung have also invested in 360 degree cameras, enabling users to capture a new format of content cost effectively. The huge investment in 360 video by Facebook has enabled marketers to invest in this area.

A single customer view should be the priority

Following a data-analysis breakout session, we found one of the most common interests among the data enthusiasts of the industry was creating a meaningful single customer view. How do your users interact with your brand across multiple platforms and what actions do they take? How can you influence users active across multiple devices with different intentions? The introduction of Google User Explorer seems to have taken strides towards that, however many larger outfits will have to invest heavily to make sense of the data available.

Another area of interest during this session was determining if all businesses know how to make sense of the data. Do they gain insight and how do they spot opportunity to act on?

In summary…

The future of marketing is an exciting opportunity for both marketers and consumers to engage on a different level. To echo earlier comments, the key is to focus on the desired outcomes of each activity. If not, it could become expensive and inefficient very quickly. Each marketing channel and activity should have a purpose and a goal to work towards. Otherwise, in today’s competitive online market you could find yourself spending a lot of money testing platforms that don’t perform as well as others.

Interested to find out more about the future of marketing? Here are some great Twitter handles to follow:

@TheDrum – Industry news source and event organiser

@BaconChin – Adam Libonatti-Roche

@TimArmoo – Co founder of Fanbytes

@Seenit – Co-create video platform

@MimiTurner01 – Marketing director @ The Lad Bible

@Davidjmcole – IBM Watson

@_EmilyForbes – Founder @ Seenit

@RussShaw1 – Founder of Tech London Advocates