Commercial Director of GForces Tim Smith was lucky enough to attend Google’s Think Mobile and Think Marketing conferences a couple of weeks ago hosted by Matt Brittin, MD Google UK. These events were attended by some of the world’s most powerful brands including Coca Cola, Vodafone, Diageo and Unilever and other leading marketing agencies throughout the UK. Whilst it’s easy to sit back and wonder in awe at the sheer size and influence of Google, it is actually more remarkable to witness the enthusiasm, drive and thought they put in to these events, their business, and indeed the world as a whole.
Tim comments: As you will know, GForces prides itself on pioneering the introduction of new and relevant internet technologies to the automotive retail sector and our sometimes evangelical desire to see a greater degree of embrace for the internet at all levels within a dealership. I often talk about the cultural block between what a car buyer expects from a dealer and the service they actually receive. Remember consumers are used to eBay, Amazon and Ocado and they want this experience when they are buying a car. The point was brought home so strongly that there is still a wide gap in the adoption of mobile and other forms of internet technology when it comes to communicating with customers in the FMCG sector…and we all know how far behind the motor retail industry is to the likes of Tesco and M&S, so the gap is huge.
But rather than dwell on this fact, I thought it more pertinent to write about some of the points made throughout those two days. Before you read on though, check out this video…IT MAKES MOBILE MAKE SENSE.
One of the speakers we heard from was Professor Iqbail Quadir who founded Grameenphone the largest mobile network in Bangladesh. He drove the mobile market in to Bangladesh by helping people who didn’t even have running water or electricity get access to mobile phones. This was driven by his conviction that by enabling communication he would generate commerce, trade and prosperity. Through modern telecommunication people could unlock their heretofore under-utilised and most precious resource, their brains, thus contributing more to their society and helping to generate GDP. Quadir was thinking ten years in advance and cited Moore’s Law, which basically states that processing power gets cheaper and cheaper meaning the average smartphone you have now is more powerful than the computer that put man on the moon! This man is all about the long view and a truly inspirational thinker. This view is anathema to many in the motor retail industry where technology is seen as an afterthought. In motor retail technology is often seen as a necessary evil rather than an enabling force for communication and commerce so the prevailing view is to use it only if your competitors are doing so.
The second conference, Think Marketing brought together another bunch of equally eminent guest presenters
Ivan Pollard, Group Partner at Naked was highly entertaining and self-deprecating drawing a parallel to himself and the old guy in Disney’s film ‘Up’. He’s a man that believes in the Big Idea and his agency Naked has worked with many household names. But his message was one of consistency, of restraint…of process if you will. Sure, the tools at a marketers disposal have changed and developed incredibly fast over the last 15 years, but you still need to come up with creative ideas, things that will engage a target audience. You just use digital and mobile, as you’d have used print and TV to reach your audience with a targeted message.
Probably the highlight of the two days was the Old Spice account team presentation from James Moorhead, Brand Manager, Old Spice P&G and their agency team Account Director Jessica Monsey from Wieden + Kennedy.
Whilst not the most polished presentation, they let the work speak for themselves. They were responsible for possibly the world’s most successful advertising campaign last year, featuring a series of commercial that became a media phenomena and launched the celebrity of Isaiah Mustafa in the US. If you have not seen any of this, check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owGykVbfgUE. This campaign perhaps above all others, will be seen as the definitive first/best example of integrated marketing in this digital/social world. A large contribution to what made it so successful, apart from the Big Idea and fantastic character was the execution and the way this team used the full arsenal of marketing tools at their disposal to create a multi-dimensional, multi-channel, interactive campaign that engaged the target audience directly. It is an inspiration to marketers the world over as it helped Old Spice become the number one brand in US by sales volumes and revenue and delivered a lesson on how to market to anyone in the industry.
These sort of conferences help us keep abreast of the latest trends, understand how society engages with technology and new means of communications. But most of all, they do exactly what they are supposed to do and make you think.
By Tim Smith, Commercial Director of GForces