Key takeaways from the Marketing Week Live event

Last week, our marketing team headed up to London for two days of inspiring talks, networking, and valuable insights at Marketing Week Live. We wanted to share some of our key takeaways from the event, so that you’ll be able to use them to boost your own marketing activities…



Sarah Cunningham, head of demand generation at ecommerce growth platform AdRoll, encouraged marketers to take a step back and look at the entire landscape in order to create true business impact with social media. The shift from search to discovery is particularly worth noting – as people are using social media now more than ever to be inspired, to learn and to get advice from people they trust. For example, PWC’s 2017 Total Retail Survey found that 39% of customers say that social networks provide their main inspiration for purchases.

Being the centre of your particular community is also vital, and brands should be engaging with this community for at least two hours every other day – in order to build meaningful relationships that incite action. This is particularly important because, according to Cunningham, “You can pay for likes, but you can’t buy love.”


‘Mobile first’ was also a reoccurring theme across the two days, and several speakers spoke about the importance of enhancing the user experience (also known as UX) through mobile. 61% of time spent online in the UK is on mobile, but the average mobile site currently takes 15 seconds to load which is far too long to keep the user interested. Customers are also 62% less likely to return to a site if they have had a bad experience with it on mobile. This is why you need to ‘think mobile first’, and ensure your site is optimised by increasing the speed it takes users to navigate the site on these devices.

Digital marketing speaker, trainer and consultant Tim Fidgeon also discussed the importance of optimising content for mobile. To improve mobile readability, you should attempt to only use one sentence per paragraph – and ensure the important information is always at the start of the sentence, since people tend to scan mobile sites quickly. And when it comes to video, 94% of users won’t rotate a screen to watch a horizontal video – so stick to portrait. Having your logo at the beginning of your video is also crucial, as many people won’t watch a video if they don’t recognise the brand.


When it came to marketing on a shoestring budget, there were a few interesting points from Kerry Chilvers, Brand Director at Direct Line Group. Firstly, you need to be really clear on the specific challenge you face and your ultimate goal. But most importantly, you need to be brave. After all, you only have one chance on a small budget, so don’t be afraid to put your neck on the line and take risks – just be sure to back up your ideas with thorough research. And when carrying out research on a budget, get your audience involved from the outset and throughout the process. This can even include interviewing friends, family, colleagues or neighbours – as long as they fit into your target audience.

When Direct Line recently launched its ‘Shotgun’ app – as part of a campaign to reduce the number of road traffic collisions involving new drivers – it knew that scare tactics weren’t going to be enough to grab the young, predominantly male audience’s attention. But thanks to thorough research, it knew that sex would. As would incentives and rewards – like free pizza or clothes vouchers. The brand took a risk, but the resulting ad and app are genius – and most importantly, have helped the target audience drive safer.


Mark Ritson, professor of marketing at Melbourne Business School and writer for Marketing Week, pointed out that marketing is really about three things – diagnosis, strategy and tactics. All of which are equally important but absolutely must be done in order, one at a time. Keep your strategy simple as well – you should be able to define it in a single phrase and describe exactly what you’re NOT going to do. And remember, there is no such thing as a three-year marketing plan – “In marketing there is only next year.”

It is also worth noting that marketers represent the customer. Not the brand. Not the product. After all, marketing is all about finding out what the customer wants and giving it to them. So when it comes to devising your marketing strategy, you need to be putting your customer at the forefront of everything that you do. Actually getting out into the market and talking to your customers is also vital. There has been a lot of discussion recently about ‘big data’, but what really matters is the small, personable data. Think quality, not quantity.

GDPR was naturally also a hot topic, with many attendees keen to unravel the ambiguous nature of the new data protection regulation coming into force from May 25th. We’ve got a blog post coming up about this soon though, where we’ll discuss the regulation in more detail, so we’ll leave this topic for now…


If you want to develop your marketing strategy but aren’t sure how to put these insights into practice, then get in touch today by emailing Whether you need help defining your strategy or managing your social media accounts, we can help. And if you aren’t sure how to make the most of a small budget, or how to optimise your site for mobile – we’ve got that covered too.