The Festival of Marketing 2016: Ten sessions you should not miss

The Festival of Marketing is a wonderful thing. Nowhere in the UK can you enjoy the depth and breadth of expertise and experience imparted by top marketers, business leaders and entrepreneurs – in one place, over two days.


From improving the effectiveness of your marketing to gender stereotyping in ads, from the value of having a mentor to marketing on a shoestring, here are my picks from The Festival of Marketing 2016.

Sir Martin Sorrell on the state of marketing

Headline stage, 5 October

Whether appearing on Newsnight, at Davos or on, when Sir Martin Sorrell talks about the state of marketing he is never short of fascinating and always thought provoking. Expect nuggets on the folly of cost cutting brands, digital disruption and where the economic wind is blowing. There are few more authoritative voices in marketing and business. A must see.

How to make sure your data strategy is not breaking the law and alienating customers

Data and Analytics stage, 5 October

Utter the words “data protection regulation” and people’s eyes will generally gloss over. Put it this way: ‘everything you are doing to capture data is wrong’ and you will get people’s attention. Despite Brexit, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation is going ahead and it contains measures that will trip the unprepared up. A stellar panel featuring marketers from John Lewis, RNLI and the MRS will offer tips on compliance – the need to gain explicit consent, for example – but also argue that it is an opportunity for a new social contract with customers where marketers can exceed customer expectations on data and build better relationships. And not just tick boxes.

Gender stereotyping is unequivocally wrong…isn’t it?

Realising your potential stage, 5 October

Unilever issued a rallying call to the marketing industry in June to work harder to stamp out stereotyping of men, women and families. Bad for society and business, the FMCG giant argued. The marketer fronting Unilever’s push, EVP for global marketing Aline Santos will argue it is the marketing industry’s responsibility to help dispel gender stereotypes. Others on this four-strong panel may deliver the case for gender stereotyping. It promises to be a lively affair.

The value of mentoring explained

Realising your potential stage, 5 October

Those that have had the pleasure of hearing Sherilyn Shackell speak are generally in agreement – she is a force. This year, the Marketing Academy founder tackles the subject of mentoring – the good, bad and ugly. Whether you are thinking about a mentor, you are a mentor, or you want to benchmark your own experience, Sherilyn will educate and entertain.

Insight the Pret A Manger way

Insight stage, 6 October

Crowdsourcing is commonplace but is often just a tool to generate material for communication campaigns. It is seldom used to determine product strategy. Earlier this year, Pret A Manger opened its first standalone vegetarian store – Pret’s Little Veggie Pop-up –after receiving 10,000 votes in favour.

Pret A Manger Veggie pop-up

The principle: “ If customers are good enough to give you their time, you need to listen,”, according to group marketing director Mark Palmer.

Palmer will lift the lid on the novel insight strategy – letting the customer decide.

How to market to 7 billion people

Multichannel stage, 6 October

Last year, the United Nations launched its “Global Goals for Sustainable Development”. To illuminate it, Project Everyone was established – arguably the most ambitious marketing campaign ever  – an attempt to reach 7 billion people in 7 days. Not your everyday activity. Piers Bradford, the Project’s managing director, will explain how media can be amplified across the world to maximise impact as well as how a residual affection for The Spice Girls can raise awareness of gender inequality.

Marketing on a shoestring, The British Library way

Content stage, 6 October

Every company, small, medium or large is facing up to the same challenge – how to extract more impact from the same or less budget. It doesn’t matter whether you’re Unilever or a start-up, best practice case studies of marketing on a shoestring are inspiring. The British Library’s head of digital and marketing operations Graham MacFadyen will explain how it used content to maximise impact.

B2B or B2C brand, diversity is great for business

B2B Stage, 6 October

The debate about the need for greater diversity to better reflect your audience and society tends to focus on B2C brands but that doesn’t mean those marketing B2B brands, particularly agencies producing work for brands, should not think hard about a subject that is a societal and business necessity.

Join Mayank Shah, the CEO of MSDUK a not for profit dedicated to driving inclusive procurement policies , Pride AM president Scott Knox and respected B2B marketing leader Christine Bailey to reveal how you can overcome challenges to make your workforce, culture and supply chain more diverse.

Putting ROI at the centre of your marketing strategy

B2B Stage, 6 October

Effectiveness and accountability should be the starting point for all marketing activity. How can I generate greater returns and how I make myself more central to the delivery of my business’s objectives? These are questions Thomson Reuters asked of itself. Antonia Wade, chief marketing officer for Europe will explain what it concluded. From how to deliver better analytics to measure marketing’s impact on sales to improving the standing of the profession in the boardroom, Thomson Reuters is an invaluable case study.

How to personalise ads without being creepy

Personalisation stage, 5 October

Digital channels and the data explosion have provided marketers with unimagined opportunities to target and personalise communication. It has, however, provided lots of ways that brands can be intrusive, interruptive and, well, plain creepy. Shop Direct marketing director Kenyette Nelson, Mondelez’s growth analytics manager Matt Stockridge and DMA managing director Rachel Aldighieri will explain how marketers can overcome concerns over transparency, the future of personalisation and the challenge and opportunities of ad blocking.

To see the full agenda and buy tickets go to



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