For the past five years, the QUT Business School has worked hard to provide opportunities to connect students with industry professionals via the biannual AMPlification student conference. The conference aims to provide students with a realistic, progressive perspective about the future of the advertising, marketing, and communications industry, and in my opinion, does so extremely well!
In semester two of this year, we were honoured with the presence of Leigh Terry, CEO for IPG Media Brands (APAC), Kevin Doyle, Regional Vice-President – Data, Personalisation and Marketing Automation for Salesforce, Ryan Petie, Executive Creative Director for Publicis and Gai Le Roy, CEO for Interactive Advertising Bureau. This all-star team delivered compelling presentations, with several recurring themes emerging including consumer privacy, the importance of positive consumer experiences, e-commerce, artificial intelligence, and the importance of earned media for the future of advertising.
Leigh Terry provided some great insight into the future of media and its cultural implications for consumers, technology adoption rates, building strong, seamless consumer experiences and positive consumer-brand relationships. Leigh discussed the fact that communication is changing on a holistic level and blurring the lines between the traditional cross media channels to focus more on consumer experience, supported by platform integration. This creates greater demand for the use of first-party data to personalise brand experiences and sees advertisers, marketers and communications professionals moving away from siloed approaches, in order to create seamless consumer experiences. With the focus changing to a consumer-centric approach, it’s no surprise that consumer attention will become the most likely metric to measure success.
Kevin Doyle introduced the concept of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as the near-term future of marketing with some very thought-provoking information. Kevin discussed that in terms of technology investments and trends, the B2C and B2B marketing budgets have seen a 186 per cent growth in AI since 2018, with 67 per cent of marketers using this technology to bridge online and offline touch points. This means, that marketers need to ensure consistency across touch points, as your best consumer experience touch point, proves to be the benchmark that the consumer will expect from your brand throughout their entire consumer journey.
Consumer expectations also reach as far as implementing AI into our future marketing and communication integrations, but to do so, we need to ensure that the marketing is empathetic, humanised and personalised if we wish to gain return on our investments. We do need to remember, that while technology does present the opportunity to further support consumer relationship management, it must come at a balance between privacy, consent, and the consumer expectations of your brand. This is quickly proving to be one of the new balancing acts for marketers.
Ryan Petie really got me thinking, as he proposed that the future of advertising is earned media. We know that media fragmentation is currently at its strongest with the uptake of platform and programmatic personalisation. So in order to support our campaigns as communications professionals, we need to create earned media that has the potential to take on a life if its own: storytelling at its finest. Ryan argued that if earned media is working for you, then traditional advertising won’t be required. And let’s face it, people aren’t fond of advertisements in the traditional sense anyway. If we look to create brand stories, we can more authentically connect with our audience, and use paid and owned media, to support message integration.
Overall, all new approaches will require marketers to stay current in relation to the various new platforms. According to Gai Le Roy gaming and esports are no exception, as they help drive paid and earned opportunities by using their interactivity to engage with consumers. With increased year on year growth in e-commerce, and the global pandemic pushing more consumers to shop online, hybrid consumer experience models are destined to emerge as a result.
The AMPlification student conference is very valuable to students, and I firmly believe that such opportunities are why QUT graduates hit the ground running. It provides the opportunity to stay abreast of current trends and industry requirements which in turn, affords valuable insight by which graduates can create relevant, effective communication that is consumer-focused as well as being integrated and empowered by technology–a real-world requirement for today’s marketers, advertisers and communicators. The AMPlification student conference, made possible by a superlative group of academics and industry-leaders, is what makes a QUT graduate, a QUT graduate.