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The Big Rethink - Some key takeaways

The focus of the Big Rethink, a yearly event organised by The Economist, was ‘the age of the entrepreneurial CMO’. Marketers and communication specialists discussed the latest trends and gave brands tips on how to stand out in this increasingly creative marketplace. Kings Place in London welcomed some impressive speakers and I was very eager to attend.

The first session I attended was with Steve Hatch, the regional director UK and Ireland at Facebook; Tara Powadiuk, the global media partnerships lead from Microsoft and Marie Steinthaler, head of marketing and growth at Hopster. They all talked about how marketing is changing the media industry and the influence of technology. One big conclusion after this session is that we must be careful not to put too much faith in technology. “The idea has to come first, technology has to enable it to happen”, said Tara Powadiuk. Steve Hatch added that mobile, creativity and people are the key words in this debate. While Marie Steinhaler concluded: “The customer is key, not the use of the newest technology”.

Journalism and marketing seem to be growing closer and are increasingly intertwined, now maybe even more than ever. I was looking forward to the session with David Pemsel, the deputy chief executive from the Guardian Media Group. He started out by explaining how the Guardian took a global rise by increasing its global presence. The secret was, so explained Pemsel, an open strategy, two-way dialogue and to put the reader in control. The reader was getting the content they wanted to read. This meant that through social media channels like Facebook it would send out a lot of news and this made it attract more readers.  An important question he brought forward was who owns the newspaper, the editorial team or the marketing team? To which he concluded they both should have something to say.

Adrian Wooldridge, management editor and columnist at The Economist gave some interesting closing remarks. He talked about the power of creativity, something he thinks marketers should make more use of. He encouraged marketers to create big ads that have a big impact on people. This might be through the use of personalisation or putting big ads on a building for example, instead of just advertising on Facebook. The second thing he mentioned was a big data privacy backlash. ‘The corporate big brother is watching you’ and this might create the next industry disruption.

I couldn’t attend the whole event but the parts I did see were very interesting. I’m curious to see the predictions come true.