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Next Gen: Future Thinking 2015 - What to expect

On 8 October at the London Film Museum, Results International is bringing together a diverse group of players in the world of marketing and technology. Tech entrepreneurs, agencies, brands, publishers and investors will be hearing about and discussing some of the biggest issues facing the future of the industry, with speakers such as Facebook, Guardian Labs, Cheil, Accenture, Vice Media and iCrossing. Tickets are available now here.

Here is a flavour of some of the areas the event will be covering:

The ascent of data-driven engagement

Understanding which advertising and content touchpoints most resonate with the customer is fast becoming the holy grail of marketing intelligence, not least as the gaps between the data haves and have-nots become increasingly stark. Data is already rightly seen as a critical marketing tool, but it may actually be the cornerstone of the next generation.

Forbes’ recent report The Rise of the New Marketing Organisation captured this when it found a 74 per cent vs 24 per cent gap in customer engagement and loyalty between the leaders and the laggards in data-driven marketing. This is exactly the kind of competitive edge that marketers demand.

WPP’s recent investment in and partnership with internet data and analytics company comScore acknowledges that importance while actually also making a slightly subtler point at the same time: it’s not only the data capability that is valuable, but the reach and scale of the data itself. Insight is only as well informed as the datasets being mined allow it to be.

Digitising content: coexistence of agencies and tech

Increasingly perceived as the ‘atomic particle’ of 21st Century digital marketing, the acquisition of content capability supplies tech-enabled distribution channels with the building blocks of the modern marketing campaign.

Content agency John Brown Media’s recent sale into digital performance marketing agency iProspect, part of Dentsu, speaks to this ‘post-digitisation’ mind set. Marketers have come to realise that no matter how accurate the targeting, they will continue to fire blanks without the right content – which is created through people’s understanding of consumer motivations. Similarly, the formation of content agency Truffle Pig by WPP, Snapchat and the Daily Mail, announced at Cannes this year, shows that the biggest players see content as a vital direction.

That interdependence of conception and distribution has staked the improved success of marketing campaigns on the co-existence of agencies and tech. Of course, what shape this takes exactly is yet to be confirmed.

Shaping the future of customer engagement in the digital world

Social media, mobile technology and innovations such as iBeacon have expanded the landscape for customer engagement and empowered marketers to refine campaigns to an unprecedented degree.

However, this is not without added complication. Indeed, customer engagement is becoming a more cautious art as the digital world also empowers consumers to affect a company’s carefully constructed brand perception. It presents more risk, but also more opportunity.

The advent of companies such as MOFILM, provider of brand video content, highlights the opportunity of using customer engagement to build valuable brand stories. A new business model for creating quality and relevant content at scale and speed, but what is next in the evolvement of customer engagement?

Creativity in a connected world

Amidst the explosion in adtech and the focus on software, technology and areas such as programmatic trading, some have become concerned that creativity, the lifeblood of the sector, could lose its grasp.

Advertisers, agencies and publishers alike have a key role to play in ensuring that the industry retains its creative spark. In an age of easily-skipped pre-roll video, ad blockers and ‘banner blindness’, the businesses that deliver genuine creativity are going to have a real edge over their competitors.

The shift in demand for internationalisation: perspectives from US & Asia

The strategic conquest for markets, capabilities and people abroad increasingly punctuates the scene in global marcoms, adtech & martech M&A. In H1 2015, 188 cross-border deals were done including the notable acquisition of UK-based PPC agency Periscopix in May, heralding the entry of US performance marketing agency Merkle into Europe and reflecting the trend of agencies bringing people to their customers (the UK is Merkle’s second largest international market behind China).

Meanwhile, Asia is not just a market for Western players but an increasingly active origin of investment. The likes of BlueFocus (China), Cheil Worldwide (South Korea) and Dentsu (Japan) have made significant strategic investments in Western agencies over the last year and beyond. These cases of internationalisation are recasting strategic borders and creating competitive environments that may redefine the traditional distribution of marcoms power.

To buy your tickets for the NextGen: Future Thinking 2015 conference, visit the website.

Julia Crawley-Boevey is director at Results International

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