I had a fantastic time at the Forrester Marketing Forum in Orlando last week. Being a newly indoctrinated Forrester analyst, it was equally beneficial to meet clients and other Forresterites. It was great to see that a lot of clients blogged and tweeted throughout. A few clients put together great overviews of the forum.
The opening session focused on on taking risks in a down economy, a great way to jumpstart conversations during the event. I got a chance to roll up my sleeves and talk to a slew of clients one-on-one about how this notion could put them ahead of their competition. There were a few key themes that kept coming back:
Forrester's Marketing Forum in Orlando Florida, see other photos tagged FMF09
Yesterday's theme was to take risks and engage in innovation --even in times of economic hardship. Armed and excited with examples from the speakers and panels, the conference was now focused on the 'how to', with a focus on engaging your customers to be involved, guide, and lead your company in tandem with your own leadership.
As you can see from Jeremiah's post below, our 2009 Marketing Forum is up and running in Orlando, Florida, with Shar VonBoskirk kicking off proceedings with (after lifting the audience with a resounding rendition of “M I C K E Y M O U S E!” – well, they are at the Disney Resort!) a keynote addressing how marketers affected by the recession, across the globe, need to treat their online planning and strategy teams as core parts of their business planning, taking account of the advantages of more accountable marketing channels. She urged marketers not to be stifled by the idea that a recession is a bad time to innovate; on the contrary, as interactive marketing channels continue to grow strongly, now is a great time to take innovative steps to reach consumers across online channels, with far less risk than many marketers perceive.
>More experts from the likes of Microsoft, Starbucks and iProspect take the stage on Friday to share their insights into how to get the best value out of interactive marketing in a recession.
The Forum is being held in the US, but the recession is an equal reality in Europe, and European marketers are faced with the same challenges – how to get the best out of their marketing spend, how to take advantage of the flexibility and measurability of interactive channels, and how to best reach and talk to consumers also feeling the bite of the downturn. Marketers struggle with understanding how they can identify key consumers in their European target countries, what technologies to use to reach them, and how to innovate, say using social media, to make a brand stand out from the crowd?
Forrester's Christine Spivey Overby kicked off the conference, first reminiscing on how
great innovation comes out of times of economic struggle. Her example, which is
so suited for Forrester’s marketing conference in Orlando, is Walt Disney’s creative genius to
develop an iconic entertainment franchise. She stresses that now is the time to
do marketing differently by thinking differently and embracing innovation.
Marketers should innovate now, despite
the perceived risk.
At Forrester's Marketing Forum today in Orlando, my colleague Christine Overby led off the day with an insightful example of how Walt Disney took risks in the Great Depression despite the odds, and succeeded. That same kind of action can be applied today by interactive marketers, even in this down economy. Christine notes how it takes vision, marketing skills and a willingness to do things differently - to embrace innovation.
Later, AT&T Mobility CMO David Christopher described in his keynote how the big carrier is staying the course in this turbulent economy and betting big on wireless and asking the key question: What problem am I solving for customers? Christopher noted how AT&T continues to drive ahead with smartphones (its helps having the red-hot iPhone), and that data revenues continue to climb. Seems AT&T is solving the mobile needs of its customers rather well.
Many recent innovations in the mobile space are led by new entrants such as Apple or Google. However, let's be fair with telcos. They invest significant amounts of money in R&D and have very creative staff. There has been some skepticism in the industry on selected Orange services such as Pikeo, Djinngo (ex Bubbletop) or Soundtribes where Orange was trying to "reinvent the wheel" without partnering with the right Internet players. However, these services have never been really marketed and does not prevent strategic partnerships to be signed. Orange in particular has many Orange Labs worldwide and is driving innovation.
I saw recently some interesting demos of products and services to be launched by Orange:
“We all know that young consumers, both in Europe and the US, have adopted social media avidly. But what about their parents’ generation – the Baby Boomers (those aged 43 to 63)? How are they using social media? Well, I’ve just finished a piece that looks at the Baby Boomer generation in Europe and their social media activity, and found that this audience are also starting to integrate social media into their daily lives.
The Forrester team is gearing up for yet another great Marketing Forum, this time, in Orlando, Florida. We've carefully selected speakers to take on the hard topics of the recession, ROI, and taking risks.