Five key learnings from the CMA Summit

March 5th, 2019

Several of the panellists spoke about how agencies need to adapt. In the past they were often siloed into different sections  – SEO, content advertising etc. Now there are opportunities for agencies to offer a multitude of services to brands, but the different wings need to work in a more integrated way. The CMA Summit event, held in London on Thursday, February 28th 2019, proved to be a huge success with speakers from across the content marketing spectrum connecting with a highly engaged audience on a series of crucial industry topics.

Our latest report on “The enduring appeal of print media” was handed out during last weeks Summit, and has some fascinating insights into the print industry. If you missed the event or managed to leave The Curzon without one, not to worry, we’ll be handing them out at our next Content Breakfast – Women in Content.

There will be an in-depth report from the event available soon, but in the meantime here are five quick take outs from the event.

Content agencies of the future need to be diverse

The first panel of the morning saw a range of contributors, including author Lazar Džamić, Leo Harrison, founding partner of the OLIVER Group, Christine Beardsell, Chief Content Officer of C3 Creative, Code and Content, Tom Curtis, Managing Partner, Head of MediaCom Beyond Advertising, Luke Southern, Managing Director of DRUM and Mark Stephens, Executive Producer for Lloyds TSB all peering into their crystal balls to offer clues as to what the content agency of the future might look like.

This panel was designed to set the scene for the day, and it did just that, as many of the other sessions touched on this topic, with the discussion focussing on two key areas – flexibility and diversity

The key to being able to offer these services is that agencies need to become more diverse, they need to attract different skill sets. Content agency staff of tomorrow should boast a variety of skills and feel comfortable working on all types of content.

Diversity also needs to be reflected in the staff that are employed including people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. This will enable the agency to properly understand and reflect back the nature of modern Britain.

Data driven content is an opportunity but needs to be handled carefully

Any discussion about the future of content needs to reference data and technology, so The CMA presented a panel which included Ryan Skinner, Analyst, Forrester Group, Bian Salins, EMEA Lead Content Consultant for LinkedIn, Maddy Cooper, Founding Partner for Brilliant Noise and Justin Kirby, academic, consultant and co-author of The Definitive Guide to Strategic Content Marketing, to talk this topic through. The nature of the discussion largely focussed on the need for more data, but for that data to be handled sensitively and intelligently. For example, consumers have become ever more wary of the way they are targeted by interruptive digital advertising – deploying content in a similar way might ultimately be self-  defeating.

The panel spoke of the requirement of marketers to use data to understand audiences. They did, however, concede that for many brands and agencies this was the start of a journey. There are now many tools to enable marketers to learn more about their audience, and indeed to automate some simple tasks. The issue is that marketers are often slow to adopt these tools not feeling entirely comfortable with how they operate and are concerned as to what they might mean for staffing roles in the future.

Technology will continue to mean that brands and agencies will have to innovate. Working out how technology benefits the brand, the agency and indeed the consumer has to be the priority.

5G is a massive opportunity

The morning’s final keynote was delivered by Anna Watkins, UK’s Managing Director of Verizon Media. The company owns a large number of key media brands including The Huffington Post, TechCrunch and Yahoo News.


She finished her presentation by giving the audience a glimpse of the future and the potential of 5G technology. She warned marketers not to be cynical about the technology explaining how it could prove to be transformative in enabling consumers to download large video files in seconds while offering stable and effective live streaming.

Lots of differences in measurement

The debate about content efficacy, and the reach and effectiveness of content has been ongoing for many years now. The CMA has responded to this by setting up a measurement group whose key purpose is to examine whether there could be industry standards created to help brands and agencies. At the Summit this panel featured Clare Jonik, Director of Marketing, Future Fusion, Brook Bateman, MD of infogr8, Nina Noergaard Jacobsen, CEO and founder of, Clare O’Brien, Head of Media Effectiveness and Performance for ISBA (Institute of Standards for British Advertisers), and Dan Davey, CEO and Founder of Progressive Content who looked at some of the key issues facing content marketers in measurement. In particular, there was a lively discussion about whether, and indeed why, some marketers see content as a discipline that is distinct from other marketing efforts.

The panel once again underlined that there are many different views in the industry on the measurement of content. However, one thing that could be agreed one was that content’s ultimate metric was how much it impacted on business performance – whether it helped sell a product or service – and that marketers need to ensure that this is front of mind when creating their campaigns.

Purpose will be a hot topic in 2019

The summit finished with perhaps the most controversial discussion of the day – an examination of whether brands needed to underline a purpose in what they are trying to achieve. As keynote speaker Thomas Kolster from Goodvertising, said: “purpose has become a bit like Pokémon where everyone is searching for it.”

The panel, which included, Thomas as well as Eliza Williams, Editor at Creative Review magazine, Pax Zoega, Head of Agency at 1854 Media, Simon Baker, MD of TCO London, Simon Coley, co-founder of Karma Cola and Mark Field, Director, The Bridge Studio, News UK, then looked at some of the recent examples of brands who had focused on purpose in their campaigns. This included the ill-fated, and heavily criticised Pepsi Cola activist ad and the recalibration of Gillette’s ‘the best a man can get,’ story as a response to #metoo. Opinions were split on the latter with some panellists believing that Gillette were doing a worthwhile thing but had handled it badly. Others argued brands should be wary of pursuing purpose unless it is in their DNA. Though Lynx were namechecked as an example of a brand that has gradually moved away from an image that might be seen as toxic, to something that that better reflects 2019.

If you’d like to keep up with the Content Marketing industry, our next event is our Content Breakfast: Women in Content, March 20th and there are still tickets available. Visit our events page to find out more.

Read more

Video content and measurement

Five steps to communicating purpose

Cognitive Diversity – why we need to be different

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