Hear our take on the key themes of the conference.



What we heard

  1. Many clients facing ‘headwinds’:We were amazed at how many of the client presentations focused on the various ‘headwinds’ companies are facing. Social and technological changes are dramatically impacting categories and brands are recognizing they need to innovate their products, while identifying new consumer and communication targets to survive.
  2. Broadcast TV in trouble – traditional ads moving to programmatic buying:Traditional media has been heavily impacted by technology. Several presentations referred to the need to transition into programmatic buying of advertisements, allowing the targeting of audiences in real time, providing greater opportunities for companies to communicate and connect with their consumers.
  3. Our Industry is moving away from asking consumers questions:We heard innovative new ways of getting at what consumers were thinking and feeling, without actually asking them. One of the best presentations was by Vesselin Popov at the University of Cambridge, who is able to profile you through analyzing your Facebook likes. Depending on the number of likes he analyzes, he can predict your values and attitudes better than some family members can.
  4. Half of companies in attendance were technology focused:There were still many suppliers discussing consumer samples, insights, and research, but the future is focused on technology. Technology to get deeper insights, as well as to get them faster and in more cost effective ways.
  5. Disruption – faster, cheaper, BUT also better and new methodologies:The reality is that technology is causing disruption in our industry. Many of the clients that presented talked about 1 of 2 different pressing needs. The first was to find ways of doing things faster and cheaper, while the second need is focused on finding new innovative methodologies to drive better decisions and brand growth.

What we think

The headwinds aren’t going anywhere. Our society is constantly looking for ways to evolve and grow. Some ideas will be short-lived fads, while other ideas will lead to long-term changes in how we run our businesses, create value for our consumers and clients, and how we live our lives.

The reality of it is, the only way to face these changes is head on. We believe that the industry as a whole needs to change the way it approaches these challenges and look for more ways to collaborate.

We believe that the winners of tomorrow will be those companies that work together to truly understand market gaps and unfulfilled client needs and then leverage the transformative power of technology to create new opportunities that add value and drive growth.