(Not Just) Another Marketing Conference

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Doug Kessler

25. 06. 2013 | 5 min read

(Not Just) Another Marketing Conference

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So I’m on the train back from Cambridge to Kings Cross station in London, after a great day sitting in a dark room listening to smart people talking about marketing.

(Because I’m an idiot, I left my raincoat at the conference. I discovered this while chatting to Dave Trott (yes, that Dave Trott) on the station platform. He asked what the raincoat was worth. I estimated I’d get 60 quid for it on eBay. He said, “I’d go back.” But when I explained I’d only leave it somewhere else, he said, “Maybe it’s time to let that raincoat go.”  Instead, I called Neil Cooper the conference organiser and he swung by the station on his way home.  Full service or what?)

Seems like a good time to type out my report on Another Marketing Conference.

Not any old other marketing conference, this one is actually called Another Marketing Conference (@AnotherMktgConf) and it’s different in these ways:

  • It’s a labour of love – Neil works in a product development consultancy in Cambridge and just decided to do this in his spare time (thereby making a mockery of the term ‘spare time’). This is the second one and it was terrific.
  • The event has no corporate sponsors – so no one has bought their way on to the stage. It shows:
  • The calibre of speakers is very, very high – Rory Sutherland from Ogilvy and Dave Trott of Dave fucking Trott were the stars but every speaker was excellent and brought a unique perspective on the central question: what’s up with this marketing thing then?

Like all the best conferences, I dragged my arse in with all the enthusiasm I felt before my court-mandated Speed Awareness course (36 in a 30. Sheesh) — and (unlike the Speed Awareness course) left buzzing with ideas, insights, inspiration and countless other i-words.

In fact, it had been a bad few days on the Velocity front for me (the usual frustrations but kind of ganged up in a particularly spiteful program called ‘Get Doug’). So, though I thought a conference was the last thing I needed, it turned out to be the first: I needed to get out of the office and think about what I do for a living. I needed to hear passionate colleagues and fellow travelers. And I needed a train ride into the country.

Some of the things that I learned which won’t seem like such a big deal because a simple sentence summary can’t capture the feeling you get when a new idea fizzes a new path between two previously disconnected bits of brain:

Big Data is bigger, closer and scarier than even I imagined – and I just read a book called Big Data. Peter Waggett from IBM gave a great talk on this and he’s a real rocket scientist — no, really a scientist of the rocket kind.)

Monotype is an extremely enlightened company – they’d have to be to survive so many epic market disruptions and still have a brand people trust. Now they’ve started a community, content site and event series under the “Brand Perfect” brand. (Julie Strawson spoke eloquently about the project – a great example of B2B content marketing – and about new research into online publishing and advertising).

Nokia just might have a shot at some mobile market share – they’re doing some very smart things to win back a few of the share points it GIFTED to Apple (then Google). Richard Murphy gave us an inside look at Nokia’s online (web) program and it’s pretty bloody sophisticated. Game on.

The folks at the Mobile Marketing Association have figured out mobile.  We heard from Paul Berney and he was brilliant.  I’ll list some goodies below.

Marketers now need to be behavioural psychologists – which Rory Sutherland most definitely is. Or at least read lots and lots of books about behavioural psychology which Rory most definitely has.  He lit the room on fire with ideas, anecdotes, soundbites, and insights about what makes people choose things and how we can manipulate the bastards into choosing our stuff.  Fascinating and fun.

Predatory Thinking is about going upstream – and turning a tough problem that you can’t solve into a simple problem you can. Dave Trott had lots of fantastic examples of this kind of thing. I could tell you but then you might not buy his book and that would be a shame.

You can connect just about any brand to just about any cause – if you put enough marketers on the task. We had six per team and Melissa Andrada and Camilla Grey from Wolff Olins guided us through a social brand idea session that made me kind of scared about letting marketers gather in groups larger than three.

There is a framework or a model for EVERYTHING – and they can be kind of fun to collect and trade. Julie Roberts of TMW agency has a hell of a collection and she really knows how to work them.

User Experience is one of the coolest disciplines in the world – at least as practised by Jon Dodd and Bunnyfoot it is.

A ‘sweet spot’ idea is one that combines technology psychology and economics in new ways – like the Hailo app does

Everything is context-dependent.

Three things I learned about Mobile (from Paul Berney of the MMA)

First there were Digital Immigrants. Then there were Digital Natives. Now there are Digital Dependents.

The two USPs of mobile are Contextual Relevance and Mobile Payments – both of which allow people to act at the point of impulse (sounds dangerously lucrative).

Every Moment is Mobile.

Things I’ll run home and Google or buy or drop into casual conversations as if I discovered them myself:

The #ChevyGameTIme Superbowl campaign

Byron Sharp?  How Brands Grow

The $300 million button by Jared M. Spool

The TrimTab on a boat tiller.

The coupon copy from the Sea Monkeys ad in the back of those comic books I used to read in the 60s and 70s.

The Monkeynomics video of the fairness experiment

The SCARF model by David Rock.

Technology Usability Heuristics by Nielsen And Molich.

Persuasive Technology by B.J. Fogg.

Why Everyone Else Is a Hypocrite by Robert K…?

A new word I think I’ll try hard to never use:


A word I think I probably will use: if I can think of a way:


Strategies and tactics I may try:

Ask, “What if the opposite were true?”, then find a way to test it.

Start by optimising the last step of a purchase journey and work backwards – doubling the effectiveness of this step doubles the effectiveness of every step that went before.

Doing and saying whatever Rory Sutherland does or says.

Bottom line:

I’m exhausted. I’m glad I went. You should go next year. Here’s a taste.

Published in:

  • b2b-marketing

  • conference

  • digital-marketing

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  1. Bryon Thomas

    June 26th, 2013

    Would love to see the session videos posted on YouTube. Great for the commute. I listen and don’t watch 😉

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