Cannes Lions insight: How the creative marketing industry has changed

Cannes Lions insight: How the creative marketing industry has changed
Sylvia Jensen is currently the Senior Director of EMEA Marketing for Oracle Marketing Cloud (Eloqua). Over the last 15 years Sylvia has held various marketing roles for technology companies such as WebEx, Palm, and Coremetrics. In many of these roles she’s had the privilege to kick-start marketing in Europe. Given these start up roles, she’s learned to appreciate the different channels within marketing but always likes to see them working (hard) together. Sylvia also thoroughly enjoys the art and science of promoting technology that helps marketers do their jobs better every day. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she has spent the last 10 years in Europe living and working in cities such as Amsterdam, Paris and currently lives in the United Kingdom.


Whether we like it or not modern marketing is remarkably different to what it was like even five years ago. The last three years have seen seismic shifts in how the industry operates and some of us just haven’t been prepared for it and others haven’t welcomed it.

This change has been most apparent at the annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. For those unaware of the Festival – firstly you need to ask yourself how you don’t know about it – it’s arguably the global event for those working in the creative communications, advertising and related fields.

Over the last two or three years, there have been more and more technology companies in attendance and some, like us at Oracle are even joining the more ‘traditional’ companies as sponsors.

Marketing tech’s role in creative campaigns

This isn’t just some desire to ‘get in on the act’ or to score an invite to some of the parties that will be taking place up and down the beach and on superyachts (although, that’s not to be smirked at!). Rather it shows how the emergence of marketing technology is being used to a greater effect to supplement even the most creative campaigns.

The marketer of the future will wear two hats simultaneously – a creative one and a technology one

The arrival of technology companies to the Cote d’Azur is merely a natural response to the increased role and impact that technology has in our lives as well as the changing expectations of today’s consumers with how they want brands to interact with them.

Modern customers meander from channel-to-channel at any moment, interacting with your brands, products and services both online and offline. Sometimes they may even interact with a website across two different devices simultaneously, or pick up an enquiry a few hours later on a different device altogether.

Sometimes consumers log into a website, other times they simply visit a store offline. Sometimes they start a trial or contact a sales person whereas other times they don’t. Throughout this entire process they generate vast amounts of data.

Using data to connect

According to the CMO club, a community for CMOs, 85% of marketers say that the biggest challenge to cross-channel marketing is consumer data which is unavailable or spread across multiple sources.

As a result, marketers struggle to know their customers individually and target them appropriately.

Technology enables marketers to do extraordinary things and overcome the challenges posed by a digitally connected world. For example Oracle Blueqai and Responsys can help connect relevant data to real customers allowing marketers to focus on connecting the right data points and making the right connections.

Technology also allows marketers access to real-time interactions so that they can adapt to customer behavior, preferences and any activities. Imagine the possibilities.

Delivering content through the channels where prospects and customers want to receive it is a critical part of the content marketing strategy.

Overall the marketing technology tsunami means that marketers now have to add new skills to their armoury.

Where there’s change, there’s challenge

There is some natural resistance to this change. Some are concerned they may have to spend an inordinate amount of time managing technology and making decisions about how to deal with it therefore spending less time developing creative and engaging campaigns.

However my view is that the marketer of the future will wear two hats simultaneously – a creative one and a technology one. Whilst it may appear daunting, this is not about adding complexity or taking marketers away from their passions and the reasons they are in this industry. Rather it’s about adding a layer of maturity and sophistication to marketing.

In our minds, sophistication is a good thing.

Cannes will always be a celebration of the most creative aspects of the industry and this year we’re going to be there showcasing how to embrace sophisticated modern marketing and why the industry need to.

And we’ll be having a good knees up whilst we do.

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