‘We all have a vested interest to overthrow the marketing status quo’

An embarrassment of riches. That’s the perfect phrase to sum up all the learnings and insights delivered by more than 200 speaker sessions at Marketing Week Live (MWL) last week. Hundreds of marketers gathered to hear the latest thinking on strategy and innovation and meet suppliers that could provide clever solutions – all with the aim of helping brands gain that vital competitive edge.

Branwell Johnson

There was so much inspirational and practical advice flowing from the centre stage alone that it would be impossible to relay it all here – you can find full coverage and video interviews on our website. But if I could pick out a couple of key thoughts it would be those made by Topshop chief marketing officer Justin Cooke and Telefónica Europe CMO Jonathan Earle in their presentations.

Cooke said: “Disruption is one of the most exciting aspects [of marketing]. It is an industry that needs disrupting more than ever because people do get very formulaic and that’s never a good recipe [for success]. You have to keep questioning what you do.”

Earle focused on two key points that should underpin any company’s ability to stay agile, ride the changes and triumph over rivals. Marketers, he said, need “to be ruthless in their execution internally and externally” and that the biggest enemy to innovative thinking and success were “managers” and associated red tape – pure and simple.

These observations hit the nail on the head for the modern marketer. Change is now a constant and the speed at which a company can recognise new opportunities (rather than become paralysed by perceived threats) for its business model and associated marketing communications will dictate whether it is a winner. It doesn’t take long these days for a brand to lose traction and begin an inexorable descent to possible oblivion, with BlackBerry a possible example springing to mind.

And with fresh thinking and fresh approaches being the imperative, I’m delighted to say Marketing Week and its sister brands are not resting on their laurels after MWL. Together with Creative ReviewDesign Week and Econsultancy, we are launching the Festival of Marketing (FOM), a three-day extravaganza in October that will provide a forum to explore and debate the skills, talents and character of the modern marketer, as embodied in our Modern Marketing Manifesto. It will also be a celebration of marketing with plenty of fringe fun events and networking opportunities. 

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