We’re just two and a half weeks out from the Festival of Marketing 2018, and here in the Econsultancy office we’re eyeing up all the amazing talks on the agenda and wondering if it’s possible to somehow be in six different places at once.

For my part, I’m a big fan of all things future-looking: marketing strategies that make use of the latest tech, brands on the cutting edge of innovation, and exciting ideas for what comes next. So, I’ve rounded up five futuristic talks that I’m looking forward to expanding my mind with at the Festival next month.

From AI to self-driving cars, predicting customer behaviour to personalised food prescriptions, these talks combine adventurous ideas with the technology and strategy to make them a reality.

Hugo Amos, Black Swan Data: Innovating innovation. Predicting customer behaviour to create first-mover advantage

Any talk that promises to be about “innovating innovation” has definitely got some cutting-edge techniques to share. Hugo Amos, co-founder and CMO at Black Swan Data, will be focusing his talk on why traditional research methods are obsolete – and why brands need a “21st century approach” for 21st century business.

Amos will be explaining the futuristic science of “social prediction”: how to apply data science and machine learning to objectively predict what consumers will talk about next. Forget being reactive on social media – knowing what consumers will be talking about before they say it would pave the way for a truly proactive social media strategy.

Amos will dive into how brands like McDonald’s, PepsiCo and Google are applying social prediction to make faster and smarter marketing decisions. Day one, 11:30.

Markus Stripf, Spoon Guru: AI in good taste: Spotting trends and recommending food options as accurately as medical experts

Prescribing food to your exact tastes and diet as accurately as a medical professional certainly sounds like something from the 22nd century, but Spoon Guru is doing it right now. Markus Stripf, co-founder and CEO of AI food recommendation app Spoon Guru will be revealing the secrets of his futuristic AI at Festival of Marketing: how artificial intelligence can recommend tailor-made food and recipes to each individual, and what AI can tell us about dietary trends.

Spoon Guru also partners with grocery retailers to make their products and recipes more searchable and discoverable, with the ultimate goal of transforming the world of food search on a global scale. You can catch Stripf speaking on day two at 13:55 – or for a sneak peak, read our Editor Ben Davis’ interview with him for the blog: Spoon Guru on AI-powered mission to change food discovery & shopping.

food and knife

Jon Tipple, FutureBrand: Tomorrow’s World: How future-proof is your content ecosystem?

As the landscape of digital evolves, with new devices and channels for communicating on the horizon, content needs to evolve with it. So what does the future of brand content look like?

Jon Tipple, Chief Strategy Officer at FutureBrand, will be revealing the results of the 2018 FutureBrand Index at Festival of Marketing. He’ll look into what kind of content makes a company a “future brand”, how companies can use the insights from the Index to future-proof their content strategy, and the key trends marketers should be paying attention to. Day one, 10:15.

What is Content as a Service, and how does it work?

Adrian Copland, XL Catlin & Tim Loo, Foolproof: Turning ideas into businesses at speed: Creating an autonomous vehicles insurance product in three months

Self-driving cars are another innovation that still sounds impossibly futuristic, and yet they’re already a reality – and what’s more, they need insurance just like any other type of car. Adrian Copland, Accelerate Partner at XL Catlin and Tim Loo, Executive Director of Strategy at Foolproof, will be sharing how they used design thinking to launch a global autonomous vehicles insurance product in less than three months.

Building on this, they’ll also explain how to apply game-changing design thinking to your next product launch, how to turn a vision into a practical product to launch, and how to adapt a large organisation around disruptive technologies like self-driving cars. Copland and Loo will also prove that big companies can compete with small agile organisations, and move just as quickly, which is a must in the fast-paced tech world. Day two, 14:45.

Jade Price, Intercontinental Hotels Group: Viewing consumer behaviour through a new lens: Applying VR for the insight generation (Chaired by Debrah Harding, MRS)

Despite years of build-up and huge amounts of promise, virtual reality has been slow out of the starting gate, with consumers cautious about adopting this futuristic technology. However, a number of adventurous brands are still exploring the possibilities offered by immersive technology, and Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) is one of them.

Woman using VR headset

Jade Price, Insights Manager, Europe at IHG, will be demonstrating the value of immersive experiences in research for hospitality and beyond at Festival of Marketing, as well as how businesses can spark change by bringing new technology to the forefront.

Even better, she’ll be investigating the business case behind emerging technologies like VR, which can often be hard to prove, and showing how to demonstrate commercial benefit in order to get budget sign-off. Definitely one to catch if you’ve been thinking about branching out into innovative tech. Day one, 13:55.

The Festival of Marketing 2018 runs from October 10-11 at London’s Tobacco Dock. Browse the full agenda and buy your tickets.