Flock Forum: The Marketing Department of the Future


“Thank you for a Flocking fine evening.” 

On the 26th of November, marketing experts from across the country met to enjoy a glass of wine and discuss the Marketing Department of the Future, the focus of the latest Flock Forum. Facilitated by Flock’s very own Simon Francis, the conversation was led by our four fantastic panellists:

 Robert Dreblow: Head of Marketing Capabilities, WFA

 Jonathan Allan: Sales Director, Channel 4

Matt Shepherd-Smith: Brand Director, blinkbox

Syed Rizvi: Vice President, Sales at Marketo

The Forum provided the perfect setting for an insightful discussion about marketing with a few laughs along the way. Here is a selection of the key topics and findings:

Marketing technology is an amazing aid. All panellists and attendees attested to the power of well thought-through and skilfully executed marketing solutions. However, many also gave examples of where badly planned tech initiatives had damaged brands, wasted time and money and not met consumers’ (high) expectations.

Top tips

a) Get marketing, procurement and IT to work together to develop an integrated marketing technology strategy.

b) Map capabilities, processes and resources to create a detailed business case before considering any tech solution or provider.

c) For companies of scale, consider appointing a Marketing Technology Officer.

Data, data everywhere and not an insight to be found. There was general agreement that most marketing departments need to reorganise, get new resources, hire new talent and make the most of the opportunity that rich data offers. However, many felt that a focus on data for its own sake dehumanises the consumer, the brands and the relationship between the two.

Top Tips

It was agreed that as a marketer you need to know what you want your data to do, what questions you want it to answer and which hunches you want proving, before configuring data management platforms or models.

Creativity is still the most important aspect of marketing. Over half of attendees felt that the time and effort put into creativity is reducing due to the distractions of technology, data and digital. It was also felt that co-creating big ideas with multiple departments and agencies is harder than ever. We heard how Coca-Cola in Mexico have their own house where they lock their key staff (without phones) for two weeks to develop Big Ideas!

Top Tips: Use new co-creation techniques and workshops to bring resources together.

Mobile centricity. Matt Shepherd-Smith made a strong case for building all marketing solutions ‘mobile up’. He explained how marketing, product and customer service teams need to work as a ‘swarm’ to deliver these new solutions.

Top Tips:

a) Design processes to align product and marketing teams.

b) Integrate mobile capability throughout the organisation – no silos!

Investing in marketing talent. It was agreed that superb marketing capability plans for brilliant talent are required for fantastic marketing. Rob Dreblow shared details of the WFA Marketing Capability study, which showed a stark difference between the best and worst companies with regard to marketing capability building initiatives.

Top Tips:

a) Ensure you have a well-planned talent and training strategy developed with HR.

b) Work with agencies and media owners to develop training plans.

What lives inside. It was agreed that more marketers need more talent and capability inside the company. It was felt too many relied too much on agencies.

Top Tips:

a) Re-examine what the customer demands of you and what critical functions (like data and marketing accountability) must be inside your company.

To watch the ‘best bits’ of the Forum discussion, take a look at our Vimeo channel and check our Pinterest page for photos.

The Flock team would like to thank everyone who made the event run so smoothly. Thanks also to everyone who attended and contributed their valuable opinions, making the evening informative and very enjoyable for us all!

Want to know more about the Forum? Would you like an invitation to the next one? Get in touch: we are always glad to chat.


Flock Forum: The Marketing Department of the Future


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