It’s a fantastic annual marketing event and this year we were fortunate to hear the advice of various speakers including; Pete Dixon, O2 Customer Experience; Juliet Hodges, Behaviour Change Advisor for BUPA (a favourite); Tom Crewe, Copywriter for Adido (he did a great seven second per slide presentation) and Vikas Arora, Senior Search Executive for Bing.

As usual I was left inundated with a huge amount of information which I will apply to my work. Thanks to Michelle Jacques from Octopus Farm I will certainly invest more time in thoroughly researching and understanding Rockley’s target audience while Jon Payne from Noisy Little Monkey shared some of his tips on how we should run Facebook – be sexy, be disgusting, be controversial and relate it to real life events. He was a very engaging speaker and although clearly an expert in his field, we don’t have to agree with everything they say, after all, much about marketing is a perspective.

Yet the most fascinating part of my day was spent hearing about how technology is quite literally taking over the world! As a marketer, of course a large amount of my work time is spent on the internet, Twitter, Facebook and various other forms of social media channels. It appears in this day and age, it is more of a necessity than anything else to stay ahead of the market, but at what cost?

Don’t get me wrong – It’s not that I’m not fascinated by what we now have the capacity to do when it comes to technology. Cutting-edge trends are revolutionizing healthcare and giving hope to many, but sometimes I find the other stuff a little too all-consuming.

The photo below is so indicative of the society we live in today - we generally look at life events through a lens. I personally think the old lady has got it right. OK take a photo or two but I believe really enjoying the moment and retelling the story has so much more gravitas than showing someone a screen of blurred lights, muffled noise and the back of people’s heads – everyone knows that the books are always better than the films.

So what does all this mean to you? Do you feel great to be part of an all consuming technologically advanced society or is it proof that we actually need to take a step back and spend a little less time on our phones, staring at a screen or taking to a virtual ‘buddy’.

It’s all about Facebook…for now

With Facebook currently taking the lions share of social media, it is clear that most people use it as a platform to showcase how colourful and enriching their own lives are to the outside world. However, a report in the Guardian online on 5th October 2017 revealed that ‘a total of 57% had received abusive comments online, 56% admitted to being on the edge of addiction and 52% said social media made them feel less confident about how they look or how interesting their lives are’. So could this, coupled with the increase publicity in cyber bullying, possibly see the demise of Facebook? And is this why Facebook announced on 16th October 2017 that it will contribute one million pounds to fund existing training for one young person in every UK secondary school so they can support children who experience cyber-bullying? With new research suggesting that young people are more likely to discuss online bullying with each other than with parents or teachers, is this Facebook showing their caring side or are they just protecting their investment?

Do it the Ed Sheeran way

So what do we have to look forward to? Well it seems the smart home is taking shape nicely. 2016 saw Samsung introduce its Family Hub fridge complete with an app you can use to order groceries online, but probably the greatest trend is the emergence of voice interaction with your own personal assistant. The Cortana search box has over 145 million active users with 8 billion questions asked to date. Who knows, maybe we’ll all start talking like robots and names like Alexa, Siri and Cortana will feature in the top five list for baby names!

My Dad told me that I was holding my eight year old back when he offered to buy her a smart phone and I said “no way!” Swiping a phone or touch screen is now as natural as going to the toilet, I really don’t need to worry instead I’ve encouraged them to take a leaf out of one of their favourite artist, Ed Sheeran’s book who said;

“We didn’t own a video games console and I honestly think that was one of the best things my mum never did. So all the time that my friends were playing Grand Theft Auto, I was sat there practising the guitar over and over and over again”

As a watersports company, we all really believe in the benefits of spending time outside. Every year we take thousands of youngsters on activity trips either to France or Poole and every year we get personal letters from teachers, parents and pupils highlighting the positive effects of these experiences. No phones, computers or access to social media whatsoever – simply camping with friends, eating al fresco and spending time on the water doing activities they wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to try. So while Rockley, like most companies relies heavily on social media as a marketing/sales tool, maybe there can be a happy-medium?

Moderation is excellence (or so say the Greeks!)

Already bombarded with information, the final speaker of the day was Cate Murden who created the company Push Mind and Body. Her focus is on the need to look after ourselves and to work more efficiently so that we have the time to do the ‘other stuff’ whether that’s spending time with family or going for a walk – after all surely there is nothing more inspirational than the physical world we live in. And it’s absolutely true – if we don’t look after ourselves, then our level of productivity can never be sustained. Basically work smarter, not more.

So what am I saying, ditch social media and turn your back on technology? No, not indefinitely, but maybe just for now, just for today. Like all the ‘naughty but nice’ things in life, Facebook and social media should be used in moderation. So instead, go for a walk, take a bike ride, go windsurfing or sailing, skim stones down the beach or play football in the park. Don’t tweet it, Facebook it or put it on Instagram. Share it with the people you are with at the time and not the 300+ ‘friends’ on Facebook. Just for a bit, don’t live life through a lens – choose to actually live it and enjoy the moment. Just for now!


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