The tools to navigate the digital universe

As marketing continues to grow and evolve, mutating into new forms of consumer engagement across new spaces, so the various debates as to what works and what doesn’t continue to rage.

Several of those debates have been moved forward this week alone. A new round of funding saw Twitter valued as a $1bn business this week, and yet it still hasn’t made a penny of profit for shareholders. The same accusation, however, was levelled at Facebook for years. Now, though, founder Mark Zuckerberg has claimed profitability for the first time since creating the social media monster. Does this mean Twitter will definitely last? No, but nothing I’ve seen so far suggests it is likely to fail either. For as long as these brands continue to draw consumers in such vast numbers, they have the potential to be every bit as important a tool for marketers as they threaten to be.

In the first Marketing Week roundtable in association with Google, which kicks off on page 26, we gather a dozen of the UK’s leading marketers to explore the responsibility that the expanding digital universe has placed on industry professionals to understand how consumers want to interact with brands.

Marketers at every level of the industry are looking for answers to these and other questions. With the aim of bringing you as much insight as possible we plan to make such live events a regular occurrence so that we can continue to put the views of our industry’s leaders in front of you. In the meantime, if you get to the end of our four page write-up and find yourself hungry for more, log on to Marketingweek.co.uk from Thursday to see a short film we made of the day.

Elsewhere, and still within the context of how marketing in a digital world has shifted its boundaries, more debate. Coca-Cola’s top global marketer Joseph Tripodi talks to Marketing Week about the new world of marketing, about how to build global brands for local markets and about the soft drinks giant’s FIFA World Cup 2010 sponsorship. Sponsorship is a tasty discussion all on its own, as demonstrated by our coverage of Marketing Week’s recent Sponsorship Summit (page 13), with Coke’s European head of sponsorship Jonathan Ford arguing there is more to leveraging a great sponsorship deal than the ROI “beancounters” would let on.

A different debate entirely takes place on page 15, courtesy of our new monthly columnist Richard Madden, one of the best and most respected planners in the business. Richard weighs up two clashing marketing philosophies that could not be more relevant as we follow this recession through to its end point and search for the way out.

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