8 Mind Openers from the Global Marketers Conference


On Wednesday 26th March Sydney played host to some of the world’s top marketers and marketing practitioners including Marc Mathieu from Unilever, Ed Sanders from Google and Sir John Hegarty from BBH (pictured).  There were some new spins on familiar ideas as well as some thought-provoking views.  Below is my ‘mashup’ from the various presentations made.

The Flip Side of Risk is Excitement

In our risk mitigation world, have we forgotten how exciting it is to be daring?


Ever since Dudley Moore made it acceptable for people to walk around with a Tesco bag I’ve believed in the power of advertising beyond its direct target audience.  There is a degree of ‘permission’ granted through familiarity with a brand, something that makes it alright for others to adopt it even if I choose not to.  But in marketer’s obsession with one-to-one communication, driven by social media and usually preaching to the converted (‘likes’ mostly come from people already engaged with the brand) how can permission be granted or new people be attracted to a brand.  What is ‘broadcast’ today?

Marketing to Humans

Early in my career I heard the quote “she not a consumer, she’s your Mum”.  It was great to hear marketers trying to re-connect to ‘humans’, rather than ‘consumers’ or, worse ‘targets’!  We will be far more likely to engage people by addressing them as fellow humans, conversing with them and seeking opinions as well as espousing them, than by continuing to assume all channels of communication are another space in which to sell our message.


Close on the heels of realising people that buy brands are human comes ‘purpose’.  It may be the ‘new black’ but many marketers are making honest attempts to develop products and services that are genuinely contributing to the betterment of human beings.  And they’re not doing this for purely altruistic motives but also because they believe it is better for business.

Agency to be Marketers Eyes and Ears

There are worse things to consider for future-proofing your agency than the above.  There is no doubt that historically agencies were more ‘in touch’ with real people and had sufficient distance from a marketers products to provide some level of objectivity.  As agencies attract talent whose second nature is to connect via new ‘media’ to friends and brands alike, there are even more ways an agency can unearth insights that will drive a clients business.

Millennials (Gen Y to Us)

And talking about this new generation, global marketers have done plenty of research into how this ‘entitled’ group ticks.  The first thing I noted was that since Before Christ the more mature generations have found it very difficult to understand the ‘youth’ and that, through the generations, it is always the ‘youth’ that are wrong!  However, a couple of really good insights for those of us wishing to engage Millennials – be it at work or for a brand – you need to appear interesting and you need people to talk about you.

Organisational Structure

From the Google’s innovation lab came two fantastic pieces of advice applicable to any modern business:

– Close the gap between the decision makers and those that ‘do’.  It has two distinct advantages, velocity and creativity.

– Make other people heroes.  Google don’t restrict this to the people they hire, they extend it to the people they create for.

Driverless cars

There are driverless cars already on the roads in California – the future is coming at us head on!