We swapped our lively office in Leeds last Thursday for the luxurious Cumberland Hotel in London for the annual Chartered Institute of Marketing National conference, which boasted an itinerary packed full of marketing insights and advice from the most experienced and skilful marketers in the country.
Based around a theme of ‘Survive, Adapt, Thrive’; talks at the conference focused on the continuous struggle marketing teams face in the wake of the economic crisis, and increasing expectations from superiors who want everything ‘quicker, cheaper, better.’
As marketing enthusiasts, the CIM conference gave us the chance to keep our finger on the pulse of the marketing industry, giving us a better understanding of the challenges facing it, and more excitingly, the ways in which we can change and evolve to maximise our efforts and ultimately deliver better results.
All too often, brands involve agencies without a clear goal in mind and equally want more KPI’s than is necessary for indicating performance. In terms of SEO, brand marketing is something which is only coming in front of people this year now that the Penguin update has finally caught up with dodgy quick-win tactics.
We feel that quite often, outreach is overlooked as part of a brand’s messaging strategy, and equally brands are not using the value (20% according to Mike Ashton) of their brand to successfully impact their SEO.
So, after surplus amounts of coffee (and a few sneaky biscuits…) it was over to Anne Godfrey, the recently appointed Chief Executive of the CIM, to set the scene for the theme and structure of the day, and to introduce the much-anticipated speakers. With a wealth of experience and plenty of anecdotal advice; much of what the speakers told us was valuable guidance, but here are just a few of our best bits of the day, and the quotes which really stood out for us:
“We should be focusing on insights and strategy, rather than just communication.”
“Marketers are the ‘architects of competitive advantages’.”
Angela Hatton, leading author on marketing strategy and planning, consultant and trainer
“Marketing strategy needs to align to business objectives, they shouldn’t be two separate things.”
“Great work won’t hide a bad brief.”
Stewart Pedler, Director of Operations, Global Marketing and Creative Services, Thomson Reuters
“Executives still aren’t basing their decisions around the customer.”
Nick Turner, Partner, Deloitte
“We have more information and data presented to us now than we can get our heads around, 1 in 5 marketers don’t understand the information they’re receiving.”
“Go back to the beginning, go back to competitor analysis and segmentation.”
“We’re always going to receive a lot of data which gives us answers, but it means nothing unless we know why.”
Nick Bonney, Group Market and Customer Insight Director, EE
“The marketer is: The Instigator, The Innovator, The Integrator, The Implementer.”
“Constantly challenge the status quo.”
“The next ‘big thing’ is always around the corner.”
Georgios Kolovos, European Marketing Director, GE Capital
“If you don’t change, you’re not cutting-edge.”
“Manage expectations, don’t promise everything and not deliver.”
“The process should be:
- What do you want to change?
- Write it down
- Tell someone about it”
“Changing a culture is a person-by-person task.”
“Brand / customer experience is absolutely critical, the brand accounts for around 20% of a company’s profits.”
“How in touch are boardrooms with what makes their customers tick?”
Mike Ashton, former CMO, Hilton International, now Managing Director, ABCG
“A clear vision is absolutely critical.”
“Keep things simple, what’s on your customer’s mind? What are they talking about? What do they want?”
“Make it easy for people to use your brand.”
“The race never ends.”
Nick Adderley, Marketing and Insight Director, Heathrow Airport
“Your brand is a promise, you’ll survive if you deliver on that.”
“What exactly are you trying to say? Who exactly are you trying to say it to? Why should they give a damn?”
“Brand reputation marketing and promoted marketing should never be two separate things.”
Brendan Dineen, Director of Marketing, Demand Programs, IBM UK and Ireland
“It’s not always about the numbers, the processes are, but the results aren’t.”
Martin Glenn, Chief Executive Officer, Iglo Group
So there you have it, a truly insightful day which not only put the minds of marketers around the country at rest that we’re all facing the same challenges, but better still, gave us the advice and hope we needed to understand how to make the most out of the resource we’re given, and believe that we can facilitate change. We’re already looking forward to next year’s conference!