Innovation in Digital Marketing


Editor: My fellow podcaster, Ciaran Rogers, attended the Utalk Marketing Innovation Expo in London this week and has gathered some comments and thoughts on the topic. Podcasts to follow over the coming weeks.
There was a common and powerful message at Utalk’s  marketing innovation expo event in London yesterday.  If you didn’t attend, you missed a real gem.The event had such a cohesive and thought provoking agenda based around the concept of Innovation that it actually itself became actual realisation Innovation and all that comes with it. Sounds like over the top hype I know, but really that was my experience, and judging from the enthusiasm of those who attended the whole event I don’t think I was alone in appreciating what Utalk delivered.

Let me explain…
As the speakers demonstrated  through numerous inspiring examples of best practice in today’s global business, true “ Innovation”  brings with it much more than just ‘innovation.’  Achieve true ‘innovation’ with your brand and you set off  a chain reaction of all sorts of powerful and motivational forces.  Innovation inspires, it boosts the organisations drive and creativity, enriches and creates a burning passion for your brand, setting it apart from the everyday copycat businesses that replicate the same grey services and not so unique selling points. With true innovation your brand becomes a shining  and memorable beacon that consumers will crowd around.

And its exactly this chain reaction that Utalk created at their event.  A chain reaction of innovative, inspiring and creative ideas delivered by some first rate speakers and practitioners.  Best selling author and inspirational speaker Peter Fisk kicked things off with an inspired keynote covering seven habits of marketing innovation inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci. Fisk’s art is in pulling together seemingly unrelated but nonetheless astounding business facts,  giving you the opportunity to weave them together to form ideas that are altogether quite different and new. He delivered  an interactive  illustration and lesson in his exploration of how great innovators work tirelessly to …. Well do just what Peter Fisk does in his keynotes… Pull together seemingly unrelated best practices and thoughts to create innovation and all that it brings.  I liked Peter’s vision of the key habits of a good marketer. We should be the most constantly curious people in our organisation, continually observing and learning and exploring the margins not just the mainstream. Observe things more deeply, draw diagram’s and express your ideas in pictures, challenge those around you to think differently, seek to solve the customers unarticulated problems and keep a note book  handy at all times to  collect and record this goldmine of curious exploration.

James Hayr Head of Creativity at Microsoft shared with us some great case studies of using innovative digital technology to creatively tell stories online using `Microsoft’s various online media properties. Cris Beswick gave a very powerful presentation on what it takes to set about a chain reaction of innovative culture within an organisation and where to start. It’s not about what you do, its about how you do it. The driving factors behind innovative culture  in an organisation are its’ people, and Cris was brimming over with ideas on how to stimulate and assist your people from within a carefully cultivated innovation culture. Wayne Gibbins from social network Viadeo showed us how to achieve innovation through integration of communication technologies and strategies, and Matt Brittin, MD at Google UK inspired us with some ground breaking insights into the current online world that we operate in, with the UK leading the world in online commerce with its’  £100 billion  contribution to the UK economy.

Now at this point, you’d normally be ready to call it a day and leave quite satisfied with what you had learned and achieved, but  this was no ordinary conference… You got the feeling they were just warming up.  Teaming up with Startup Britain, we were introduced to 6 innovative UK startups who had been nominated for a Utalk innovation in marketing award. Each startup was invited to pitch to the conference on their unique innovations. Those pitching were clearly the cream of the crop with some fantastic ideas to solve very real problems and the conference was asked to tweet votes for their favourite pitch.  I was lucky enough to catch a few of the nominees for some interviews which we will shortly feature on the Digital Marketing podcast. I wont go into who all these startups were and what they offered, but do check them out on Utalk’s awards website.

Rajen Ruparell, executive Director at Groupon talked us through how the team at Groupon achieved their exponential growth over the last three years, pointing out to our amusement that he is so busy he often forgets to wear his socks. Having heard his story, I’m amaed that is all he forgets!  Dave Slocombe from Last labs talked though how as an established .com they are continuing to innovate in a variety of new areas sharing with us the development of their mobile app for theatre tickets, and Alex Newman, head of Mobile at OMD talked us through augmented reality and how they used this new technology to develop an AR smartphone app to engage consumers in a gaming experience to support Carlsberg on pack promotion. I loved the video he shared with us on the AR app Ibutterfly, which was a first rate example of a great application for this digital innovation. (

So hats off to Utalk for pulling off a stunning day.  I arrived with high expectations and  I left with a notebook spilling over with inspiration and  ideas on how to achieve change, innovation and improvement for my organisations marketing. My only regret was that I didn’t bring my fellow co- workers with me.  It’s going to  be a challenge to relay all that I learned back to them, but charged with the excitement and passion the day delivered and first hand experience of what an innovative environment can deliver I’m confident the key take homes wont be wasted.

Guest Post by Ciaran Rogers

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