After more than eighteen months working largely from home, it’s safe to say we were excited for our first in-person event, MarketEd.Live, last month. It was the fifth in a row (including an online Lite version last year, because, well, COVID) and in our humble opinion, the best one yet.
If you didn’t already know, LikeMind Media (alongside some fantastic volunteers) are the team behind MarketEd.Live. We’re super proud of the work that goes into planning what we call the best full spectrum marketing event in the UK.
One of the best things about organising an event is getting to choose diverse, interesting speakers. This year, they absolutely smashed it.
If you missed it, they were:
Let’s dive into what we learned from their sessions.
MarketEd.Live was the first time in over 18 months that we’ve seen some people in real-life. Face-to-face. Not through a screen! And it was amazing. Technology is amazing and has given us an easy way to maintain contact with our clients before and after the pandemic and will continue to do so in the future. Seeing people in real-life was something special, though.
While phone calls and emails aren’t going away anytime soon, we’ll certainly be prioritising the types of communication that involve seeing someone’s face. Where possible, this could be getting together for a coffee or sharing ideas around a table, but where it isn’t, video calls will be winning over phone calls and emails. Why? Because, as Lizzie explains, that’s the best way to generate creative, fun conversations:
“Amongst the adrenaline of helping to organise MarketEd.Live and the excitement of seeing it all come together, I had genuinely forgotten just how important face-to-face contact (even with masks between you) was for generating creative ideas, thinking outside of the box, and having fun while discussing new ideas.
For example, during the first coffee break of the day, I got chatting with someone about if I could set up any kind of business, what would it be… I might have struggled with this if this had happened over Zoom but as an extrovert who LOVES talking to new people, my answer flowed really naturally.
I ended up saying that I’d open up a plant hospital for any plant-loving enthusiasts who maybe don’t have a green thumb. Think plant A&E for severely overwatered plants or a maternity wing for propagating cuttings. After a few giggles and some back-and-forth ideas – it hit me – in-person conversations are what help me personally generate creative, weird and interesting ideas.
Going forward, I expect this realisation will mean I can create even more creative work for my wonderful clients, I just need to ensure that there are a few fact-to-face meetings scheduled in my calendar (when it’s safe of course) to help me get those creative juices flowing, especially when the coffee isn’t cutting it!”
MarketEd.Live has always been a little outside the box. The speakers and sessions push limits and encourage the audience to do so too, so it’s no surprise that the first session this year was called “Science or Séance? Why the marketing world needs to channel its weirdness”.
“MarketEd.Live has been an incredible experience for me. It has made me more open with my creative ideas that I can implement into my work with clients. In particular, I enjoyed Amy’s lecture about being weird and trying different ideas without being afraid of being in the boundaries of ‘normal’ marketing.”
There is no one way to market a product. Sometimes we need to go back to basics and think of things in a whole new way. Charlie’s taking this on board:
“A toaster is not a toaster. Neither is it a bread burner or a slice oven. Think out of the circle, be different. It’s a foot-warmer for men with cold, extremely narrow feet that were sadly crushed in a custard related incident. Basically, what I’m saying is don’t be afraid to unleash your ‘weird’.”
The idea of being a bit different really resonated with Ed, whose first experience at MarketEd.Live challenge his idea of what a conference would be like:
“Just out of university, of course I had some preconceptions of how a conference would go: a few stale speeches that could have just as easily been lectures on a cold Monday morning. Alas I was thankful to be proven wrong in the very first speech no less. The idea that marketers must endeavour to embrace our ‘weirdness’ to retain some semblance of originality in the marketing industry that has become all too ‘samey’.”
“All age-based advertising that I’ve ever done is wrong. Sharon-Marie hit us with a great talk on how aged is chronological and perceived. You may chronologically be 65 but you could perceive yourself to be 45. It made me question is age-based targeting less effective than we thought, and how can we change that.” says Charlie.
As marketers, whenever we create a target audience, or a customer persona, age is always a key factor. What age is our ideal consumer? How does that affect their likes and dislikes, and in turn, how do we market to them? If I ask you, our reader, as Sharon-Marie Gillooley asked our audience, to think of the age you consider yourself to be, does it match your real age? Probably not.
When we create audiences in the future, we’ll certainly be changing the way we view age. Kieran is eager to use this in his social advertising work:
“I also found Sharon-Marie’s lecture about age perception very useful as it has made me question who I should target in social ads and how to create content best appropriate for a wider demographic.”
Prioritising learning is nothing new at LikeMind Media, but it’s always good to remind ourselves to seek out new knowledge and ideas. We’ll also be encouraging our clients to do this.
It’s easy to think that, as we’re experts in our field, we know everything. As Kenda Macdonald pointed out in her MarketEd.Live closing keynote, confirmation bias comes into play when we’re carrying out research. We look for the information that confirms our own thinking, rather than helping us create new ideas. This idea was also backed up by Nathan Anibaba, who pointed out that we can’t expand our thinking or generate new thoughts if we only consume the same content as everyone else.
“Despite information being at everyone’s fingertips, it is not enough to consume. There are a lot of people selling snake oil marketing tactics and blueprints with scant regard for the uniqueness of brands and businesses. It’s easy to buy an online course at £997 and watch it. It’s something else to study, to challenge your thinking, to discuss and agree/disagree. Progress isn’t made by staying where you are. Everyone should be looking to further their knowledge, but more importantly, to develop their own thinking and find their own position.“
Charlie plans to subscribe to the Agency Dealmasters podcast to expand his marketing horizons:
“I need to listen to the Agency Dealmasters Podcast, like now. Episode after episode of marketing royalty ready and waiting to give me the best tips out there.”
Creativity is always at the heart of what we do as marketers. While every campaign should be backed up by data and statistics, it’s the creativity that makes it recognisable, relatable and noteworthy. Paul says:
“It’s easy, but lazy, to repeat the same ideas time and again. I’ve seen it quite a lot recently, particularly when the world is uncertain. People retract into safety, for comfort, perhaps, but maybe also because it’s less risky for them. When the world is uncertain, people don’t want to rock the boat and suggest something a bit out there for fear of the perceived consequences.
But now, more than ever, is the time to become more, not less, creative. Incredibly, there are still an increasing number of eyeballs on content. The noise is getting louder, not clearer. Standing out, grabbing attention, retaining it is increasingly difficult – you’re not going to succeed by playing it safe. It’s time marketing took a few more risks.”
At LikeMind Media, we’ll be encouraging our clients to take more creative risks and push the boundaries.
“Amy’s brutally honest testimony exposed the extent to which brands’ stale progress has been described as a reimagination of their products. Those speeches certainly caught my eye, and were greeted by an equally accepting audience. The fact is, true originality can bring ideas to life without the need for the money to buy the best equipment and expand a business.” says Ed.
Honestly, we learned so much at MarketEd.Live, we could go on and on. Don’t worry, we won’t. You can check the whole day out for yourself on-demand, just check over to the MarketEd.Live website. Sadly, you won’t get the lunch or the after-party but the quality content is not to be missed.
Head over to the website to read articles, listen to the podcast and watch previous events on-demand.