2019 Client Summit: Three Themes for Long-Term Success

The marketing landscape is changing faster than ever, making it important for marketers to dedicate time discussing and recalibrating our mission as we strive to anticipate future changes and drive continuous improvement. 

iProspect’s annual Client Summitis designed to address these issues, while creating opportunities for serendipity and camaraderie. This year’s Summit – which took place earlier this month in Palm Desert – was no different. Change and complexity create opportunities for brands, and we explored how we can leverage complexity to architect our collective future. Over the course of two days, across presentations from clients and partners, strategists and specialists, a number of dominate themes arose.

People and audiences have long been the focus of media and marketing, but this year, the human imperative is taking a broader role in the success of businesses. Brands need to stop marketing to consumers and start mattering. In order to matter to people, brands need to use marketing to impact lives in new and novel ways, leading to a measurable improvement in the consumer experience. Simply speaking, find ways to enhance the lives of consumers by saving time, reducing their efforts or more closely aligning with their intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. Additionally, data plays a critical role in aligning with consumer needs, therefore, we need to develop a more human approach to collecting and managing that data.

For years, the explosion of usable data and the increase in consumer control has forced brands and agencies to use a specialized approach to media, resulting in a lack of cohesion across the consumer journey. Attention is a finite resource, so it is critical that we take advantage of every point of engagement. Doing so creates a personalized experience for consumers, establishing a more trusted connection between brand and consumer. As marketers, we need to force ourselves to plan and activate holistically, which requires new forms of measurement and investment in the qualities that are most measurable, rather than those that are measured by the emotional response from people. In the effort to build and measure holistic experiences, it is important that we don’t lose sight of the fact that, despite all of the available data, media remains both an art and a science.

We walked away from Client Summit understanding that the pace of change is accelerating, while the level of complexity in media is increasing. As we strive to deliver personalized messages, flawless execution is becoming more important than ever. If we are delivering against the human imperative and constructing experiences designed to make the most of every point of engagement, then we have to do all that we can to ensure that media is executed flawlessly.

A break in the media chain harms the experience and pushes consumers to seek brands that will deliver. Nailing the basics of execution begins with agency culture and permeates every aspect of what an agency delivers. The moment you become comfortable in the product you are delivering, is the moment when you are most vulnerable. The best brands and agencies are the most agile – they are always willing to pivot in order to maintain flawless execution. These cultures are built on the notion of diversity and inclusion. Inclusion builds a culture of openness, openness drives agility and agility creates a dedication to excellence. But it also goes beyond this and requires empathy and kindness from the entire agency.

In fact, the human imperative mandates that each of us act with kindness in all things that we do, both when it comes to our careers and our personal lives. Acting with kindness creates the space for failure, builds sustainable relationships and creates the conditions for brands to take on a more meaningful role in the lives of consumers.

The three themes that dominated this year’s Summit made the experience exciting and enlightening: the human imperative, building holistic experiences and driving flawless execution. Client Summit brought together a diverse group of people and facilitated powerful discussions about the future of media. Most importantly, it built the bonds between brand and agency that are required to truly drive change in the industry, while setting the foundation for long-term success.