Marketing Engagement Summit 2023: The Key Highlights
Despite the cold weather and disruptive train strikes on the 6th of December, around 500 industry professionals walked through the doors of The Brewery for our annual Sales and Marketing Engagement Summits.
It is well known that sales and marketing specialists do not always speak the same language; to highlight the importance of alignment and having shared values, we held our two summits in conjunction. Both events converged at the start of the day, splitting into two different halls for most sessions, and then coming together once more at the end.
EXPLORING HOT TOPICS WITH INDUSTRY LEADERS
Representatives from world-renowned organisations including American Express, Aon, Corporate Visions, EY, FT Specialist, Gamma, Gong, LinkedIn, Marcura, Richardson Sales Performance, Sage, Spotify, Sage, Thomas International, VMWare, and Wipro took the stage and shared their stories.
More specifically, they revealed what they are doing to address the challenges and opportunities of 2023 and prepare for 2024. Our speakers touched on several topics from the rise of content creators to marketing technology and Artificial Intelligence.
A MUCH-ANTICIPATED HEADLINER
Liam Chivers, Managing Director of the talent management company OP Media, headlined the event with a presentation on how top creators are working with brands in 2023. Liam is known as one of the first entrepreneurs to truly recognise the commercial power of digital creators. He has experience managing some of the biggest influencer names in the world and is responsible for billions of video views and millions of social media followers. From educating brands on best practices to creating bespoke influencer projects and monetising record-breaking online events (e.g., KSI vs Logan Paul), Liam’s experience is impressive and all-encompassing.
Explaining the popularity of ‘influencers’ or ‘digital creators’, Liam shared that they have their own platforms and can easily connect with fans more easily than traditional celebrities.
“They are their own broadcasters,” Liam stressed.
With most people under the age of 30 engaging with creators instead of watching television, the reach of influencers is immense. By partnering with influencers, brands can make use of this reach and attract a larger, younger audience.
MENTAL TIME TRAVEL
In addition to addressing the popularity of content creators, our conference also explored customers’ increasing desire for escapism. Exploring this topic in depth, Sprout Social’s Head of International Marketing Cat Anderson and LinkedIn’s Senior Creative Strategist Wensy Antoli discussed the birth of ‘retrofuturism’.
Cat and Wensy spoke about the mental time travel consumers want to experience during what is now the age of the global polycrisis. Seeking an escape, people are switching off from the present and looking either to the past or the future.
Tapping into this, brands are referencing nostalgia-inspired pop-culture, using pastel colours and pixel art, and reminding consumers of their real-life experiences with them (e.g., Coca Cola’s Christmas campaigns). Alternatively, they are offering an escape to the future, where Artificial Intelligence, technology, innovation, and sustainability evoke feelings of hope.
Blending these two extremes, we now have ‘Retrofuturism’. Identifying the key components of this, Cat and Wensy spoke about ‘cute’ bots, visual ASMR, cyber punk, and ready player one.
WHEN AND HOW TO USE DATA
In an exclusive fireside chat, FT Specialist’s Marketing and Communications Director Joanna Edwards revealed how they use data to enhance engagement with their audience. After adopting a CRM, FT Specialist can now see what individuals do across all channels and engage with them accordingly.
Taking a case in point, Joanna shared that they reach out to readers who have not logged into their accounts for a while, asking if they have forgotten their details or if they need help resolving another issue. Giving another example, she explained that readers who are not subscribed to their newsletters receive a targeted web pop-up when accessing their site, asking “Are you subscribed to the newsletter?”. Since the introduction of this pop-up, over 250 readers have signed up.
While data can therefore certainly be useful, Joanna also spoke about its downside as she pointed out that too much data can be paralysing. Unpacking this further, she explained that media companies often struggle to choose between providing personalised content that the data supports and sharing their expertise.
Do you give consumers what the data shows they want to read, or do you give them your expertise and talk about something they might not have heard about before?
The day concluded with a panel discussion on the alignment of sales and marketing teams. The panellists were Gillian Fitzgerald, Director of Brand and Integrated Go to Market EMEIA at EY; Kate Cash, Head of Sales and Buyer Enablement-Direct at Gamma; and David Keene, Chief Marketing Officer at Wipro (Europe).
When asked what they see as essential for the alignment of teams, Gillian pointed to ‘shared values and shared metrics’ and Kate underlined the importance of respect. Lastly, David shared: “As a marketing leader, the one thing you can do to get closer to sales is get into their meetings. Learn their dialogue, take the diversity of creative approach into the sales dialogue.”
Summarising the session, our event chair Martin Hill Wilson said: “Invest the time and energy in finding a common interest.”