What we learned from MAD//Fest 2022

Over the past few days I attended MAD//Fest 2022 here in London. After two years without in-person events, it was great to be around other marketers, hearing what's new in the marketing landscape and how others have been tackling their marketing challenges across a wide range of industries. 

Aside from soaking in the unusually sunny summer weather and fantastic food options, I also got to listen to industry leaders talk about their marketing insights and challenges, from MarTech disruptors to well-established B2C brands. While it was difficult to condense all my learnings into just one blog post, here are the top three things I learned during this year's MAD//Fest.


Personalisation is (still) king

With privacy becoming a growing concern for consumers especially in the digital space, and the phasing out of third party cookies looming closer and closer, it may seem like personalisation could fall by the wayside in future marketing. 

However, one of my takeaways from MAD//Fest 2022 was that personalisation is still so important to consumers, and shouldn’t be overlooked. In fact, according to McKinsey, 76% of consumers expect personalisation from brands, and it is key to their purchasing decision. Even more importantly, 78% of consumers will recommend a brand to friends following a positive personalisation experience! 

While we've been hearing people say that personalisation is dead, it was great to hear the opposite from MAD//Fest speakers whose organisations are using data and powerful MarTech capability to achieve personalisation in unexpected but very effective ways.


Zero Party Data

On the topic of data and personalisation, the death of third-party cookies has made waves in the marketing world over the last year or two. This change is in response to growing concerns around digital privacy, and along with GDPR laws and Apple’s iOS15.2 update, marks a turning point for how user data is handled by marketers. All these changes have left many marketers wondering - how are we supposed to personalise our messaging, retarget our audiences, and optimise our campaigns without the benefit of third-party cookies?

I hadn't heard this term before MAD//Fest, but Zero Party Data - data that is willingly shared by users - is looking like the best way to achieve effective personalisation in a post-cookie world, because users are more honest with the information they give and are less likely to feel like their privacy has been encroached on. 

But users won't just give up that precious information for free: we have to be prepared to give them something of value in exchange. This can come in the form of offers, discounts, or simply a better, more personalised service - but users have to feel like they’re getting something in return for their data.


Data is like oil…

The best thing I heard at MAD//Fest this year was that “data is like oil”  - meaning that it's extremely valuable, but it has to be refined to be of any use. Too often, we marketers focus on collecting as much data as we can, without asking ourselves: is it relevant, is it accurate, and is it useful? 

This is where having a solid data cleansing and review process in place can be extremely valuable, helping us make better use of our data, as well as making us constantly re-evaluate our data-gathering efforts and what value they're adding to our marketing strategy. 

On top of that, data hygiene shouldn’t be treated as a ‘one and done’ thing - in fact, organisations can save themselves a lot of time (and stress) by implementing data cleaning processes at the collection stage. Because, above all, data collection should be purposeful… and with data collection from third-party channels becoming more restricted, while our reliance on first-party and zero-party data increases, it’s more important than ever to make sure that the data we do collect is of value to us.

And finally, the importance of consolidating data from across all our channels to create a unified view of the user - also known as the ‘360 view’. Because if we're not using our data to better understand our audience, then what is the purpose of even collecting it?


There are so many other fascinating things from MAD//Fest that I haven't even mentioned, like the incredible developments in out of house (OOH) advertising tech or alternatives to third-party cookies, but then this blog would turn into a full-length novel.

At Webstars, we're always looking outwards at new ideas, technology, insights, and more that are developing in the marketing landscape, and how we can use these new and exciting things to help our clients. 

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