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MadTech: Three startup trends you should be looking out for in Cannes

The Drum has assembled an enviable panel of magnificent minds from the industry and beyond to identify the latest trends and brilliant ideas shaping our space. Here’s what’s been exciting them lately…

In a few days’ time, the marketing and advertising industries will come together in the south of France to celebrate the best of creativity. And as innovation has been one of the most tossed around words of 2015, the festival has added two ‘innovation days’ where attendees will hear from the world’s biggest thought leaders in creating the world of tomorrow.

I’m not only talking about the big brands and agencies who go every year – I’m talking about the 50+ startups Unilever Foundry will be bringing along as well.

These small, agile companies will be available for everyone to talk to over two days, along with structured speed dating meetings and pitches happening in the Unilever Lounge and on the Demo Stage through June 25 and 26. And their fresh perspectives on some of MadTech’s biggest industry problems promise to be thought provoking and conversation starting.

Here are three startup trends you should be looking out for at Cannes Innovation this year:

Video, video & more video

With the growing importance of video in any marketing strategy, startups have taken over this MadTech niche.

Optimising ad-content based on the consumer, crowdsourcing video production, searching through video archives to reuse relevant content, or having voice-overs for global campaigns are just a few of the startups you’ll find walking around Cannes.

Learning Algorithms & AI

But what does AI have to do with MadTech? A lot it turns out. As marketers turn towards more automation tools, and data scientists become new employees within organisations, AI will be at the centre of any executed campaigns.

From self-learning algorithms which optimise their outputs based on collected data over time, they can personalise the consumer experience, or measure the performance of online content.

Though it might be difficult to understand, this will be the software driving the future. Don’t be afraid, but be curious about it.

Retail Tech

As e-commerce analytics become more complete and actionable, startups are beginning to provide this to offline retailers as well.

iBeacons are making a come-back in retail stores to push offers to consumers, ‘dumb advertising screens’ are becoming ‘smart’, allowing them to target adverts to passers-by, and giving brands insight into consumer’s shopping patterns to continue their conversations online, consumer brands should be talking to these new players.

In Practice

If you’ll be meeting with startups, be ready for questions. They want to learn about you just as much as you want to learn about them. And the most useful feedback you can provide for them is customer insight.

Constantly be thinking about ways the technology can be integrated into your business, not if it can be. And if you think it might be worth a try in another department, provide an introduction and follow through with it.

Most importantly, be curious. Play and interact with the new ideas and tech. It is the quickest way to become familiar and comfortable with being outside of your comfort zone.

Rose Lewis is founder of the startup accelerator Collider

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