Unruly / Blog / Star-Studded UK Marketing Panel Discusses The Future of Advertising At City Unrulyversity Event

Star-Studded UK Marketing Panel Discusses The Future of Advertising At City Unrulyversity Event

Unruly HQ was this week bursting with start-ups, entrepreneurs, journalists and savvy students keen to be inspired by some of the hottest marketers in the UK. 

It was the first session of the new semester of City Unrulyversity, a pop-up university designed to inform, inspire and power the next generation of Tech City entrepreneurs.

The name of the session was ‘The Future of Marketing in an Ad-Free World: How to Still Get Attention?’, with the panel discussing ways marketers can capture the attention of consumers in a cost-efficient way.

The animated panel consisted of Chris Duncan, News UK’s CCO,  Justin Kirby, VP Strategic Content Marketing at Tenthwave, Barney Worfolk-Smith, Commercial Director of social agency ThatLot, and Dr Rhiannon MacDonnel, Assistant Professor of Marketing at Cass Business School.

The job of marketers is becoming harder and harder amid worrying consumer trends. A recent YouGov survey found that trust in advertising is at an all-time low, a recent Deloitte study found that more people now watch TV on demand rather than live, and online ad blockers are becoming mainstream, with 90% of US consumers considering using them in the future (based on Unruly’s Future Video Lab Survey of 3,200 internet users from the US, UK, Germany, Australia, Sweden, France, Indonesia and Japan).

The average consumer now has a smaller attention span that a goldfish, and it’s harder than ever to get through when consumers are suffering from ‘content shock’.  The panel kicked off by discussing the biggest pain points for consumers. Poor content, lack of authenticity and interruptive formats were agreed as the key sticking points.

Another key talking point was defining the biggest milestone which led to the decline in advertising trust. The panel discussed a shift in consumer behaviour, leading to individuals taking control of the messages they receive from brands. For many years, advertising was seen as a passive exercise, not dissimilar to someone with a loudspeaker at London’s King’s Cross station voicing their message to anyone who will listen.

In today’s connected economy, consumers are highly engaged with their devices, social media and their networks. With the idea of ‘content overload’ so prevalent,  consumers no longer have the time to passively acknowledge the abundance of messages they receive. Instead, Millennials and the Connected Generation are selecting exactly what is being served to them. However, this shift in mindsets has led to the development of ad-blocking software.

The panel then discussed what can they do to regain consumer trust. Creating content that engages, not enrages viewers, using better formats and non-intrusive, though highly targeted ads were seen as the right starting points to take.


Word from the Host

Louise Tullin, Unruly’s Marketing and Communications Director,  hosted the panel. She said:

“It was a  privilege to host such an A-list cast! The epic panellists inspired the start-ups and students  in the room with their knowledge, advice and insight.  With the advent of Vine, Blab and Periscope, and a whole host of video platforms, start-ups now have the power to create authentic content on the fly, jumping on zeitgeist events without high production costs. The panellists shared some truly compelling content with the audience and the feedback has been incredible.”