The Three Most Important Takeaways of FutureM 2015

Posted by Justine Andrews on Fri, Oct 16, 2015

Last week was MITX's largest event, FutureM. Throughout three days of sessions and keynotes, there were valueable lessons that apply not just to marketing, but any area of business. This is a wrap up of FutureM takeaways written by Iris Cullinan, Associate Manager, at AMP. 

Iris Cullinan (@IrisCullinan) is an Associate Manager in the Integrated Marketing Group at AMP Agency. When she isn’t developing strategic marketing plans for new and current clients, she enjoys live music, writing poems, painting, and writing about herself in the third person.

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Last Tuesday through Thursday, I was lucky enough to represent AMP Agency at MITX’s FutureM conference. As a member of our business development team, it’s imperative for me to be on the forefront of industry trends and to deeply understand their business implications. After hearing many inspiring speakers discuss today’s most relevant topics, I found there were three lessons that rose to the surface—read on to learn what they were and how they can apply to your marketing strategy. 

Push Past Good to Get to Great: Start with a Better Question, Then Generate More Answers

Knowledge is a commodity in today’s information age, and the mere act of knowing will not get you where you’re trying to go. This principle set the basis for Sarah Robertson’s Creative Thinking Workshop, which clearly outlined how to push your potential and arrive at great ideas more often.

By starting with a better, more specific question asked early on, you’re set up for greater success and more opportunity to be inspired. Once you have the right question, you need to push past all of your good ideas, leveraging quantity to arrive at quality. As Voltaire once stated, “Good is the enemy of great,” and by coming up with more solutions and more ideas, you increase the likelihood of getting from good to great. To operationalize this concept when brainstorming, push yourself to come up with as many ideas as possible. Then pick your best idea, and nix it. Now come up with something even better. Thinking beyond your first “best” idea empowers you to achieve a stronger output with better results, as opposed to settling for an idea that is merely good.

How to Connect to the People: First Understand Your Audience, Then Provide Value  

A reoccurring theme at FutureM was exploring how brands can connect to people in meaningful ways. As a disruptive industry, at times we advertisers distance ourselves from identifying with audiences as “people,” relying on data measuring clicks and eyeballs as evidence to prove our value. “This is Your Brain on Marketing” challenged this by reminding us that there are humans on the other side of the screen, with human reactions and emotions. At AMP, valuing the people behind the demographic is a core philosophy, so diving deeper into this topic was of great interest to me.

In the session “The Future of Media,” Michael Dyer of The Daily Beast called upon the industry to realign to the reality of consumers’ desires and behaviors. The issue of ad blockers could be traced to the subpar experience some advertising provides its users, getting in their way rather than connecting to them. Rather than interrupting your audience, give them what they’re looking for. By solving a problem rather than creating one, you’ll be able to connect to the people you are trying to persuade.

Turn Transactions into Relationships: Become a Brand They Would Miss Through Memorable Experiences

Would your fans miss your brand if it wasn’t a part of their lives? Then your marketing strategy must resemble Shakespeare’s—and yes, that’s a good thing! The workshop “Creativity, Technology, and Building Brands to Last Centuries: Shakespeare’s Digital Future,” broke down the elements that contributed to Shakespeare’s success as a lasting part of global culture. The key insight: rather than targeting an audience, aim to define your audience by becoming a part of their identity.

By creating memorable brand experiences that are great on their own, but get better as they layer together, you’re getting close to mimicking Shakespeare’s secret sauce. Beyond the surface level appeal of exclusivity, when you provide your audience with experiences that add up to something greater than the sum of their parts, you’re creating an irreplaceable relationship.

We can relate this to the advent of layering data and technology onto every consumer product imaginable. By turning products into services, successful brands turn transactions into relationships. When you’re a brand that stops interrupting people’s behavior and instead provides value that they can’t get anywhere else, you’re on your way to building lasting relationships with your audience.  

In conclusion, while an important theme at FutureM is forecasting the future of marketing, technology, and advertising, I believe some of the most insightful topics discussed were recommendations on how to be more creative today, how to better understand the people our ads reach, and how to establish brands that connect to people in meaningful, lasting ways. What was your favorite lesson from FutureM? Tweet me at @IrisCullinan. 

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