#FOM15 DAY 1

Festival of Marketing - Day One

11th November 2015

Kicking things off and making sure we were all sat upright in our seats was a Q&A with Lord Sugar. His uncompromising take on marketing as a strategic function within the business was a refreshing reminder of the fundamentals of marketing. A set of principles that applied to marketing and advertising 40 years ago that still rings true today.

Although an avid user of Twitter with over 4.5m followers, he wasn't fully up to speed with many of the latest digital trends and, quite frankly, he didn't seem too bothered. Twitter, Lord Sugar commented, was a great forum to promote his products or to engage with a select number of people, be it having a joke with them or rebutting some of the flak he picks up in the Tabloid media. When a billionaire like Lord Sugar finds an ongoing use for a tool like Twitter, you know there is something quite compelling about the platform, despite the organisations apparent inabilities to monetise it.

In the seminar sessions that I attended, a great talk by Dean Taylor stood out. Dean Taylor is the Head of CRM at Virgin Active. He told a compelling story about how the health and fitness landscape has changed and increased in complexity, from new premium players, to everyday health and fitness centres (even including the now infamous and socially driven Tough Mudder events.)

What was clear in Dean's presentation was that data holds the key to unlock future growth at Virgin Active. He talked about how the increasing complexity in multiple sources of data (think gym swipe cards, machine use data, wearable fitness trackers etc) is giving his IT team a headache, but is allowing him to supplement his existing CRM data to generate meaningful and actionable insights for the business. A clear example was how the average gym-goer at Virgin Active may not necessarily be a twenty something with a six-pack; Virgin Active have since used this insight to change the creative in their advertising.

Lots of the big software platform guys we partner with were hosting at today's Festival (Adobe AEM, Oracle, IBM,Salesforce etc). It was good to see how they are positioning themselves and approaching a plethora of existing and potential clients as it allows us to think carefully about the services we offer at Pulse. What is abundantly clear to me is that our experience in efficiently producing large volumes of digital assets (in super quick turnaround time) stands us in good stead for the future. Virtually all of the big software platforms offer so much potential for all manner of brands in all types of industries, enabling them to smartly use data to power their marketing activity. However, the greatest platforms in the world will only be as good as how well the creative and messaging resonates with that individual consumer at that moment that matters to them.

For those that couldn't make it here is a quick video showing the highlights.