Top sessions you must not miss at The Festival of Marketing

The Festival of Marketing is returning to Tobacco Dock on 4 and 5 October with not to be missed talks from the man behind the Marketoonist, Byron Sharp, Mark Ritson and Mark Evans.

festival of marketing

The Festival of Marketing is back in October. There is nowhere else in the UK marketers can enjoy the depth and breadth of expertise and experience imparted by top marketers, business leaders and entrepreneurs – in one place, over two days. Here are my picks of the panels, keynotes and debates not to be missed this year

The Marketoonist speaks

Almost everyone working in marketing will be familiar with the Marketoonist. His razor sharp takes on the foibles, failings and fad-chasing in marketing are known and appreciated by everyone in the industry. But the man behind the cartoons is arguably less well known. Celebrating 15 years as the Marketoonist, Tom Fishburne will talk about his work, inspiration and offer his take on the marketing universe.

Brand and Creative Stage
14.45, Thursday 5 October

Bringing it all back home

Whether it is motivated by cost, the desire for control or the search for greater transparency, brands are increasingly looking to bring marketing services in-house. Media, production and ad tech have been in the spotlight but there is also move for brands to have greater control of creative. The trend is analysed in this session featuring a panel of marketers from brands creating a culture of creativity – Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Majestic Wines and Affinitis.

Brand and Creative Stage
12.20, Thursday 5 October

The business case for neurodiversity and wellness

Creating a diverse team and fostering an inclusive environment are essential requirements in building a successful brand. Direct Line’s marketing boss Mark Evans will discuss how the company is building teams made up of “neurodiverse” people, rather than expecting marketers to be all things for all occasions. Expect more of what he told Marketing Week earlier this year: “Let people be the best them. Don’t expect creative dyslexic people to be great with a spreadsheet and don’t expect autistic people who are brilliant at numbers to ever challenge the process that they’re managing.”

Realising Your Potential Stage
11.30, Wednesday 4 October

A new data dawn

With less than a year until GDPR stops being an abstract acronym sat with the compliance team and becomes a matter for marketers, the several sessions devoted to the incoming data legislation at The Festival are rather timely. The sessions are not hyperbolic warnings of regulatory armageddon but instead focus on the opportunities and challenges GDPR presents. For those looking for a reasoned, practical and analytical view of what will be a significant change for the marketing industry, there is plenty on offer.

Various stages, Wednesday 4 and Thursday 5 October

Safe from harm

Brand safety has been one of the defining stories of 2017. The Times investigation earlier this year put the spotlight on the nefarious videos brand content was appearing next to online and provoked angry demands of Google, led brands to pull spend, raised questions over the validity of programmatic and saw a whole lot of finger pointing from those in the ecosystem looking to apportion blame. In what promises to be a candid session, Jaguar Land Rover’s digital marketing lead Dominic Chambers and Marie Curie’s digital head Steve Armstrong discuss what needs to be done to manage and mitigate a big problem.

Programmatic Stage
11.30, Thursday 5 October

The £249bn missed opportunity

It is perhaps telling that campaigns for Maltesers and Channel 4 featuring disabled people were so celebrated. It is rare to see someone with a disability in ads, it’s also woefully uncommon to see products and services with them in mind. Led by disability action group Think Designable and featuring a panel of top marketers and agency specialists trying to make a difference, this session will explore why not being inclusive means a massive missed revenue opportunity.

Insight Stage
14.45, Wednesday 4 October

Two titans of marketing clash

Professor Byron Sharp shook the marketing world when he published How Brands Grow in 2010. Cutting through some of the fluffier measures of marketing success to deliver a manifesto for success based on scientific research, Sharp’s book caught the eyes and ears of marketers everywhere. Marketing Week columnist and brand consultant Mark Ritson also looks to cut through what he might call the “horseshit” enveloping marketing and indeed agrees with Sharp on many issues. There are, however, areas where he does not. All will be dissected and debated at The Festival as the two go head-to-head.

Headline Stage
9.15, Thursday 5 October

For more information and to buy tickets go to



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