Festival of Marketing 2020: Key Trends

Over the past few months, you’ve probably attended your fair share of webinars and online events. At a time where everybody’s doing it, the ones that run smoothly and professionally stand out from the rest and perhaps even leave you thinking that life in ‘cyber’ might not be so bad after all. The Festival of Marketing 2020 was a brilliant event bringing together thought leaders on key trends in marketing in 2020.

The Festival of Marketing was a clever virtual conference. The library of recorded talks available on demand has been perfect for busy teams like us. It was packed full of the latest ideas and key marketing trends from leading thinkers on a huge variety of topics. Read on to find out which talks we found the most interesting…

Engaging Gen Z women: How brands can inspire a social generation

Grace Beverley Festival of Marketing 2020

This session was hosted by leaders from some of the world’s biggest brands making waves amongst Generation Z women including Four Nine, Columbia Records Tala and Shreddy.

The key trends that are emerging in Gen Z women include a desire for personality-led content on social media, and evidence of passion, realness, social justice, vulnerability, distinctiveness and authenticity.

While Gen Z hasn’t quite entered the workforce, it is easy for many of us to make assumptions about them as an audience. Take TikTok, for example. It might seem like all Gen Z are interested in is online conversations and learning viral dance routines, but as discussed by Corrina Kavanagh, Gen Z wants face-to-face conversations, connection and meaningful work just as much as everyone else.

Everyone in the session was in agreement that performative action is absolutely not going to win over a Gen Z audience. More than ever, businesses and business leaders need to live & breathe their values. When Grace Beverley founded Tala, the first four posts on their Instagram feed were their brand values. They put them there to define what they stand for, and to make sure they stuck to them.

Ask Me Anything with Scott Galloway

Scott Galloway speaking at the festival of marketing

Scott believes that Coronavirus has not changed culture, rather that it has accelerated a lot of things that were always going to happen. The thing it has done is dramatically increase the speed at which these changes are occurring across almost every area of society.

He opened his session with an analogy comparing looking for opportunities in the current business climate, to surfing:

“You want to get to where the waves are perfect.  Or simply put, it’s better to be good in an industry that’s growing, than great in an industry that’s average… Where are the enormous waves, the ones that if you got in front of them you’d be convinced you were a good surfer?”

The key now is to look for the businesses and markets that are thriving as a result of Coronavirus. Focus your efforts on offering your services to them, and if needed, adapting your services accordingly.

Coronavirus aside, Scott had some further predictions around the ways that consumer behaviour is changing. Due to information being more accessible than ever, customers are very well equipped to identify the best quality product. Marketing and brand building has traditionally focussed on taking an average product, and convincing the target audience that having this product will make them younger, good looking, more European, more bohemian etc.

Marketing needs to radically shift, towards becoming even more of an intelligence unit, that deeply understands the product itself, the audience, the distribution methods – everything. The most successful CMOs will be confident in not just promoting products and services, but also in developing all other aspects of the business in order to make that product the best it can possibly be.

The future of business: How marketing can respond to the climate and nature crisis

richard curtis and tanya steele speaking at the festival of marketing 2020

This session started with a recap of the current situation – climate change, wildlife loss, failing ecosystems, increasing pollution…. the list goes on. Caring about the environment used to be reserved for hippies and full-time activists. But the public today cares more than ever. And they expect brands as well as the Government to take action.

Many brands are already getting vocal about climate change – for example Ikea’s 4° campaign, or Patagonia’s anti-Black Friday. But there are still many brands that aren’t doing enough, if anything at all.

What can and should marketing professionals do about the climate crisis and contemporary environmental challenges?

  • Keep it simple. Take a look at the UN Sustainable Development goals. How can you support this goal? What can your brand do to help?
  • Measure your progress. Use science-based targets to both track and share your efforts.
  • Don’t wait. This planet is in crisis.

“Marketing departments could say: we’re the people who are going to inspire more people to buy this brand, we really believe that the climate argument is a strong and popular one. What are you doing? They should say to their company. What is your best example (of pioneering sustainability)? And here’s the best thing we can do with this example. Here’s the proof it’s going to make a difference.” – Richard Curtis

There is a growing expectation for brands to step up and do much more. Sustainability must sit at the heart of the business. And doing so is acting in service of your customers as well as the planet. We don’t have 5 years anymore.

Thanks for reading. Words by our Digital Marketing Executive, Josie Rae.

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