Sticking with the stereotype is one of the surest guarantees of failure

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Marketers have a duty to challenge conventional wisdom and overturn accepted practices. That’s how companies become innovators and gain a competitive edge.

Our Essential Read in this issue (find it here) shows how brands can reap the benefit of rejecting unwarranted assumptions – in this case by ditching outmoded gender stereotypes. Did you know that more than half of people shopping for baking supplies on eBay are men? Bang. There’s one entrenched perception exploded.

Segmenting women among the potential audience and addressing them directly can still be useful but communications have to be devised that are modern and relevant. As for gender-neutral brands thinking of creating specific products for women, there are enough examples of failure to suggest it is a path to tread very warily.

Those companies willing to take a fresh look at their marketing structures and the plethora of new channels that can help engage an ever restless audience should be the ones able to develop a strategic advantage and prosper in the future.

It’s only by coming up with bold new ideas derived from fresh thinking that marketers will become more influential within their organisations.

It’s all easier said than done but a good place to start is at Marketing Week Live (MWL) where dozens of experienced practitioners will be presenting the insights that drive change and describing how they have developed brand value and ROI. MWL takes place next week at London Olympia and over its two days offers free access to an unparalleled line-up of marketing talent from Diageo, MasterCard, Telefónica, Barclays, Facebook, Nectar, Metro and many more.

The show’s content and offerings are reviewed each year to make sure they are as relevant as possible to the changing needs of the modern marketer. You can find a preview guide in this issue (page 29) that lists the presentations, introduces exciting new zones for 2013 and offers some words of advice from speakers.

As Ian Cranna, vice-president for marketing and category at Starbucks UK, and a presenter on centre stage at MWL on 27 June, says: “It is crucial to remain fresh, innovative and relevant.”

It’s a mantra worth taking to heart and if you visit MWL you’ll find plenty to help you implement it. You can learn more about the show and register for it at www.marketingweeklive.co.uk. We hope to see you there.

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