Some may see that as a bit sad, but unless you’ve attended in previous years you won’t know that the Festival is more than just another conference (it really does feel like a festival).

To whet your appetite, with only around six weeks to go, I’ve rounded up 10 of the speakers I’m most looking forward to hearing.

1. Louis Theroux

At the Festival, there’s always a headliner or two that will bring a perspective from outside marketing. This year, one of the nation’s best-loved filmmakers is closing day one (16:45), sharing stories from two decades of work and giving some advice on asking tough questions.

2. Martina Longueira, EMEA and Australia marketing lead – Hello Kitty

I can only imagine the joy of working in marketing at Hello Kitty. Martina Longueira will be telling all (day one, 11.30) about how the iconic character has enjoyed such enduring popularity. How does Hello Kitty use influencers and Instagram? And how does content strategy work with such a large pool of licensees and retailers?

3. Martine Van Der Lee, Director of Social Media – KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

KLM speakers have been a big hit at previous Festivals (see 2016’s write-up), with the company recognised as one of the pioneers of social customer service.

This year, on day two at 13:55, Martine Van Der Lee will share details of the airline’s “Layover with a local” scheme, update us on automation and AI, and the scale of social service in 10 languages across seven platforms.

4. Sir Martin Sorrell

Get to day two early, 9am, and you can hear from Sir Martin Sorrell, Executive Chairman of S4 Capital. With his new company acquiring MediaMonks earlier this year, everybody is keen to hear more about the WPP founder’s vision for the future.

5. Carolyn McCall DBE, ITV CEO

Following Sir Martin Sorrell on the morning of day two is Carolyn McCall DBE. McCall has had a career leading organisations such as The Guardian, EasyJet and now ITV.

6. Matt Hiscock, general manager UK – Harry’s Grooming Ltd

Direct-to-consumer brands that sell subscriptions online have made a real impact in retail, particularly in the men’s grooming market. We’ll hear from general manager UK at Harry’s about redefining a grooming brand, as well as using ‘hyper targeting’ (day one, 10:15).

7. Darren Bentley, marketing director – MoneySuperMarket

It’s not just their TV ads that make me want to hear from MoneySuperMarket. Marketing at the price comparison site will surely be one of the most interesting crucibles for first party data, personalisation and privacy.

Indeed, marketing director Darren Bentley will be discussing how to balance optimisation with compliance, and deliver the right message, at the right time, via the right channel and device. Day two, 13:55.

8. Sir John Hegarty

A great chance to grill a panel mulling over the past, present and future of marketing, on the Marketing Week Strategy stage (and inspired by MW’s recent 40th birthday). Sir John Hegarty, founder of BBH London, is an industry titan not to be missed – day one, 10:15.

9. Lara Izlan, director, Advertising Platforms and Data Solutions – Auto Trader

The car buying journey is a fascinating one, and Laran Izlan will be discussing how Auto Trader uses data and ad platforms to tap into contemporary purchase behaviour. It should be a great session (day one, 16:00).

10. Parry Malm, Phrasee CEO

It’s no secret that Parry Malm is a friend of the Econsultancy blog (and one of our most popular contributors). Malm is a disarming presence and happens to be CEO of an AI company that optimises comms by understanding and optimising language.

This interesting talk will cover why marketers need to take responsibility for how their messaging can both positively and negatively affect people. Day two, 10:15.

The Festival of Marketing 2018 runs from October 10-11 in London. See the agenda and buy your tickets today.