3 takeaways from the Festival of Marketing 2016

The annual Festival of Marketing is always a big event in the calendar, with some of the biggest and best brains in the industry coming together to discuss successes and challenges for the year ahead.

This week we have three takeaways from the 2016 Festival, and how you can feed these insights into your own marketing strategy.

A new way to do customer journeys

Putting your customer journey at the heart of strategy is a focus for many marketers.

At last week’s Festival, KLM took this proposition to the next level, outlining their plans to turn social media conversation threads into a customer journey in their own right.

Here at OTB we recently wrote about KLM’s bid to make chatbots and Facebook messenger the primary mode of contact with its consumers, and once again the brand is pushing this strategy to new heights.

Karlijn Vogel-Meijer, manager of social media at KLM, told The Drum that by being able to suggest hotels, taxi companies and other useful travel tips to its customers, conversation threads ‘can be of much more use than what we are doing right now.’

She continued ‘when you are able to have a relationship during the total journey that someone is travelling, that has a huge impact.’

By capitalising on insights generated and creating a trusting relationship with consumers, KLM could be pioneering a new way to do customer journeys that others could learn from.

Selling yourself in a post-Brexit era

As much as many marketers have tried to sidestep discussions of Brexit and the political quagmire associated with it, it is perhaps unsurprising that discussions of how the industry should deal with the aftermath was a hot topic of the Festival.

Media data and insight company Mediatel reported on a Festival talk by Tim Davie, CEO of BBC Worldwide, in which it was argued that UK creative industries must be more aggressive in the coming years.

He argued that an overwhelming majority of marketing and creative executives had voted against Brexit, and as such had been left ‘discombobulated’ by the result and its immediate aftermath.

He suggested what was needed in the face of uncertainty was a plan, direction and a focus of energy into not only growing creative industries but emphasising their strengths through self-marketing.

Whichever wing of the industry you work in, learning to sell yourself and your attributes is sound advise in this hyper-competitive, globalised world.

Even the best can learn from others

Here at OTB we often argue that drawing insights from the successes of other marketers is useful for improving your own strategy.

But did you ever think that even an industry giant like Unilever would be following the same advice?

Well that’s exactly what Keith Weed, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Unilever, has suggested when he claimed that Unilever was the ‘world’s biggest digital startup’ at last week’s Festival.

Weed argued that in order to adapt Unilever’s business model to the rapid pace of change, they were looking to the rise of the disruptive digital startups for inspiration.

An article by econsultancy highlighted Unilever’s focus on adding value for customers and being accessible to digitally-savvy consumers, pointing to their acquisition of US-based Dollar Shave Club as indicative of this learning.

Through experimentation and skills training Unilever is pushing to be at the front of change, rather than simply following the crowd. If Unilever can learn a thing or two from others in the industry, we’re sure there are some Festival insights you could apply to your own organisation’s marketing strategy too.

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