Our Head of Insight, Sam Bannister, spent the last two days at Marketing Week’s Insight Show, attending inspiring talks and mingling with industry leaders. Read what he got up to below…

Day One: Wednesday 8th March

Arrived in London, excited for a couple of days of industry knowledge sharing and (not quite as important) a short break from the harsh northern winter. True to form, Kensington was showing the first signs of spring for the 2018 Marketing Week Insight show.

Day one began with a lap of the exhibitors, and I was delighted to see so many insight tech businesses. For me, this is one of the key reasons to visit such events – a chance to keep abreast of developments in the industry, and challenge our thinking as to how they can be implemented.

First, Unilever and MESH Experience

My excitement was quickly justified, with a joint presentation from Unilever and MESH Experience – “How new technology is optimising real-time experience data in measuring ROI.” Trialled in the US and South America, small cameras have been used at POS to recognise and quantify consumer emotion at fixture. Interestingly, for permissions and ethics, the cameras don’t actually collect video – they take points of data from the face, which can then be attributed to emotion and combined with other useful data such as gender, age (less reliable), and time spent at fixture.

Is this tech the finished article? Not by any means. But it is exciting to imagine how it could be used as it advances, and the impact it could have on future POS / packaging development.

Over to the Insight International Stage

A quick coffee and catch up with a field partner, and it was over to the Insight International Stage, for a talk on trends. In true futuristic style, the audience were asked to wear headphones, serving to heighten the anticipation of the discussion. A thought provoking talk from Kristin Hickey covering aspects that we, as an industry, should be conscious of… trends such as smartphone addiction, the changing language, and the narrowing divide between children and adults.

Another lap of the venue, speaking to a number of enthusiastic exhibitors, and day one was a wrap.


Day Two: Thursday 9th March

Arrived bright and early for the first talk of the day – “What does the future of research hold? Hear from the next generation of leaders.” A round table discussion, which was well moderated and featuring great speakers. Providing a good snapshot of the current state of play in the industry, it was a fitting intro to the day to get the cogs ticking.

Next, onto Ben Hookway

Next up, a fantastic talk from Ben Hookway – CEO of Relative Insight. Using tech which was initially developed to help law enforcement “hunt out the bad guys”, we can now analyse language to identify trends in how consumers speak – discovering data insights into vocabulary, phrasing and meaning.

The key learning? “Search” does not equal discovery. Consistencies we see across audiences are (broadly speaking) useless. If we want to be truly relevant in our marketing, we must identify and understand the nuances in language across audiences. These differences can be anywhere from 20% to just 5% of language used, depending on audience, category, subject matter etc. An example given was cosmetics in the USA – those in their 20s “wear” make up, those over 50 “apply” make up. So subtle, but so important if brands are to really resonate with an audience in theirs communications.

And finally, Frank Buckler

Continuing the theme of emerging tech, next was a case study from Frank Buckler (Success Drivers) where artificial intelligence is being used to identify the DNA of successful commercials. Which will be more effective; a voice over or a monologue? Demonstrating indulgence or portraying a sense of belonging? Being funny or being serious? Once again, the technology is in its infancy, but its progression brings huge potential for communications development in the near future.

That’s a wrap!

The day was wrapped up with a few myths being “busted” by a large scale eye-tracking study:

• Eye level is buy level
• Eight seconds to get shoppers attention
• 70% of decisions are made at fixture

Okay, so they weren’t all exactly busted, but the talk reinforced the need to constantly question the context in which insights are obtained, and to evaluate the continued relevance of “known knowns”… it’s a fast-changing landscape that we operate in.

With that, I headed back to a snow covered Leeds. A fantastic couple of days – engaging and thought provoking.

Great to see some colleagues, partners, and clients (across old and new), and lots of exciting opportunities to explore. Congratulations to all involved in making the show a success, and see you again next time!

We’d love to hear from you. Feel free to get in touch to discuss any challenges you may be facing, and how Brass Insight might be able to help.