Festival of Marketing 2017 was epic (and we know that's an over-used word, but it was).

Here are just a smattering of interesting quotes heard over the two days. If you missed out, put 'London, 3-4 October 2018' in your diary now.

1. Stephen Fry on Facebook

“The very name [Facebook] comes from the American education system and just strikes me as like being back at school. Everything about it revolts me.”

2. The AA on customer insight

“Insight is a word that has evolved quite a bit. It used to be rich and meaningful.. but now it gets used to sum up all data and analysis. But insight is really about what happens when you ask ‘why’ and it’s about deep human truth. It’s the job of a marketer.” 

– Cheryl Calverley, head of marketing (More from Calverley and the AA)

3. Mark Ritson on evidence-based marketing

4. M&S on brands as publishers

“Our view is that M&S should act more and more like a modern media company. We’ve built a publishing company in the business for that very reason. We’re really only just realising the value of our own communications channels and they are driving around eight million visits every week to M&S.com as a result of our personalised content.”

– Nathan Ansell, director of customer loyalty (More from Marketing Week)

5. Phrasee on whether AI can improve your dating success

6-8. Big brands on viewability in digital advertising

Steve Armstrong, head of digital at Marie Curie: “We have very rigorous standards in terms of where we go and the levels of verification we use. YouTube doesn’t allow the ad verification tech we use in order to manage risk. So we have taken the decision that we will continue not to be present.”

Dominic Chambers, head of digital at Jaguar Land Rover: “Where there’s mystery, there’s a margin. It is all about third-party verification.”

Sam Gaunt, head of media at Lidl: “There’s a large amount of overinvestment by marketers in the programmatic sphere who sit within brands that have no real strategy. They don’t know how much they are spending on programmatic or where this advertising is going."

(More from Marketing Week)

9. The AA on product positioning

“We’re not selling breakdown cover, nobody wakes up in the morning and says ‘I have to buy breakdown cover’.”

– Cheryl Calverley, head of marketing

10. Mark Ritson on mass marketing vs. targeting

11. John Lewis on the art of marketing

“In a world where tech and data allow a number of analyses, where there’s also granular attribution and zero-based budgeting, we run the risk of losing sight of the immeasurable and the intangible. For me, that is the human side of retailing,”

– Becky Brock, marketing director (More from Marketing Week)

12-14. Adobe on brand loyalty

15. Stephen Fry on the power of influencers

16. Stephen Fry on the failed utopia of the internet

17. Brompton Bicycles on challenging purchase journeys

"The most searched for content on Brompton’s website was an article titled ‘How to buy a Brompton’."

Harry Mann, head of customer experience, explained the challenging purchase journey, where "Buyers have to do their research, then head to one of 1,600 stores that stock Bromptons to try one out, then go back online to configure it, then head back to store to place their order, and go back a final time to collect their finished bike."

(More on Brompton)

18. Paddy Power on the difficulties of voice interfaces

"People ask for things in different ways, there are literally thousands of variations for the same command. Working out how to understand all these commands and get users from A to B without causing delays or frustration is still a huge challenge."

– Stephen McMeel, product innovation manager.

19. Paddy Power on finding the right use case for Alexa

Setting a timer while chopping raw chicken in the kitchen – “It’s 10x easier to do that by speaking to Alexa rather than washing your hands and setting a timer on your phone. Brands need to find their own ‘raw chicken’ moments where they make a task 10x easier via Alexa.”

– Stephen McMeel, product innovation manager. (More on Alexa and Paddy Power)

20-21. Stephen Fry on the potential of AI

22. Experts on accessiblity

“Retrofitting is a very expensive way to go. The most effective way is to design a website to be inclusive from the outset. However, no one person in an organisation owns the issue of accessibility, because there are issues with marketing, issues with procurement, etc.”

Rick Williams, author of ‘The Click Away Pound

23-24. Sky and Diageo on diversity in advertising

"77% of British Asians feel mainstream advertising has no relevance to them; that’s 4 million people. This should be a wake up call to advertisers,"

– Debarshi Pandit, head of multicultural, at Sky. (Sky Media is launching a competition to encourage British brands to “be braver” and submit their ideas for a campaign targeting ethnic minority groups.)

“There are people waiting to jump on you when you get this wrong. You have to work with the community, know your consumer and it’s also about consistency and building that message [over time]. That’s how we do it.”

– Anita Robinson, category director, vodka, gin and rum, at Diageo, where Smirnoff is known for championing LGBTQ+ rights (More from Marketing Week)

25. Starling Bank on solving problems for consumers

“Disruptor brands such as Airbnb and Uber are big success stories because they are obsessed with solving problems. They didn’t start off by investing all their money on brand advertising but by solving a common problem shared by consumers.

“There’s a lot marketers can learn from that. I’d say don’t start paying for ads until you’ve created a business that has a USP completely grounded in making people’s lives easier. Spend less time on marketing and more on solving problems.”

– Anne Boden, founder (More from Marketing Week)

26. Jo Malone on integrity

“[Oprah] told me, if you own everything you do and stand by your identity and personality, you will always feel a fulfilled person. That’s integrity, the core of who you are. Don’t pretend to be something you are not. Be who you are.”

(More from Marketing Week)

27. Jo Malone on retail and storytelling

28-30. Reggie Yates on celebrity-brand partnerships

31. Brompton Bicycles on social media and user-generated content

"[We want to] echo brands such as GoPro, and show where Brompton can take you”. 

– Harry Mann, head of customer experience

32. Nestlé on working with startups

“It can sometimes feel like running through treacle with a company our size. But we didn’t have a choice [with building external relationships]. Startups could become our competitors, so we had to get into bed with them”

– Gerardo Mazzeo, global innovation director

33. Manning Gottlieb on brand building 

34. Otegha K. Uwagba on work culture

35. Jo Malone on finding what you love

Ben Davis

Published 9 October, 2017 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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