My takeaways: Festival of Media Global 2017 | M&M Global

My takeaways: Festival of Media Global 2017

Cadi Jones, commercial innovation director at Clear Channel International, is feeling emboldened after a trip to Rome to attend the Festival of Media Global 2017.


The Festival of Media Global 2017 was subtitled, ‘Demystifying the New World Order, a pretty tall order for two days in Rome! I spent much of my time in the programmatic content stream, listening to the fascinating and brave progress leaders across the industry are making.

Skill Set Changes

The discussions highlighted three areas where marketing professionals need to evolve: collaboration, self-awareness and Artificial intelligence (AI).

In each of their sessions, Kim Kadlec (Visa), Linda Yaccarino (NBC Universal) and Greg Stogdon (Burberry) explained that collaboration means teamwork across data, technology and creative in order to reach all potential audiences.

In a very direct discussion, Jason Forbes (Coty), called for greater self-awareness among marketing professionals. He pointed out that too many of us allow our biases and assumptions about what the typical consumer looks like to determine campaigns. As Daniel Rosen (Telefonica) said, not everyone works on a £2,000 Mac from a hipster coffee shop. We need to be self-aware about our own biases and human judgements to allow us to reach our full audiences, and challenge whether we are using all the information and tools around us to do so.

From human judgement to machine learning: AI dominated. Hugo Pinto (IBM) promised that soon we’ll be able to “think our campaigns better” and better understand all of the data that comes with simply running a campaign. Rob Norman (GroupM) spoke about a future in which humans will add value through imagination, as AI takes over the bulk of the information and intelligence work. Can’t wait!

Reach versus Targeting

It became clear that brands feel confronted with a choice: reach or targeting. But these are not mutually exclusive, and as Gerry D’Angelo (Procter & Gamble) pointed out, we should pursue both. He explained that our frame of reference needs to be wide and inclusive, but within this, we can segment our activity into slices to drive relevance and ROI.

Many brands are keen to embrace traditional media in their conversations around data and technology. The one caveat was the need for a cross-media currency. D’Angelo highlighted this with his plea to brands to not forget the importance of reach. Without a common currency, how can brands better compare the benefits and interactivity of different media when planning?

This is consistent with the clear trend towards people and location-based marketing, using both online and ‘real world’ data. At Clear Channel, we’re already using audience data to target campaigns, a strategy which was justified by brands like Unilever underlining the importance of real world data.

Many brands spoke about their desire to use data to deliver more relevant experiences; however they called for better quality data. As Kim Kadlec said, “80% of data is unstructured and un-useable. We need the brightest minds to interpret and refine it.”

Resist or Collaborate

This was the main theme of Rob Norman’s keynote session, and indeed throughout the summit. However, the need to maintain control over your collaborations is an important consideration.

Linda Yaccarini spoke about how NBC Universal partners with Buzzfeed and Snapchat to reach new audiences. However, it uses clear rules and agreements to ensure brands are not misrepresented. For example, there is an agreement with YouTube to ensure that NBC Universal’s inventory can only be sold by its internal team.

As the industry moves increasingly towards programmatic trading, the need for a clear commercial strategy was highlighted in two further panels on the future of TV and OOH. Stefan Lameire (Clear Channel International) explained that, while Clear Channel is live and pursuing an open approach to programmatic trading, it will retain control of its supply – maintaining direct relationships with the customers (OOH specialists, agencies and brands), whilst ensuring transparency and brand safety.

“In order to ‘demystify the new world order’, we need to address the new skillsets required”

The agreement on the OOH panel, which also featured Ben Maher of JCDecaux, was why they are moving towards automated trading – a logical next step in the digital transformation of OOH, to take share from other media.

Along the same theme of digital transformation, TV broadcasters are looking at using data to offer more targeted TV advertising. Simon Daglish (ITV) highlighted the possibilities of layering data on top of television to reach specific audiences. This would be a direct threat to online advertisers like Google and Facebook whose share of the total UK ad spend in 2016 eclipsed the combined spend on TV and OOH.

So, in order to ‘demystify the new world order’, we need to address the new skillsets required; the data and insights we need to reach our audiences; and resist or collaborate – not only with digital disruptors, but also with traditional media.

I have come away with a strong call to action which I encourage you to share: be brave and face fears to drive growth.

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