Marketing in the digital revolution: Insights from the 2010 Global Advertiser Conference

Joseph Clift

A prevailing theme of the WFA/RVD Global Advertiser Conference, held in Istanbul in April 2010 was how the proliferation of online conversations - conducted by consumers and enabled by blogs, forums and social networks - have forced companies to overhaul their marketing strategies.
Presenters at this event also discussed how these conversations - which have resulted in a rapid expansion in the amount of searchable online consumer data available to firms - has impacted on media monitoring and research.
It was broadly agreed that the "holy grail" of how to succeed in the new digital environment had yet to be found. Nevertheless the day's presentations were rich in examples of how businesses of different kinds are responding to the revolution.
How brands are managing the transition to digital
Over recent years, there has been a fundamental shift in power towards consumers and away from marketers.
Empowered by social media, people are now making purchasing decisions based on what other web users say about a product, rather than what they are told by marketing messages.
Nokia responds to the 'revolution'
Pekka Rantala, senior vice president and cmo of Nokia, discussed how his firm was reacting to what he described as the new "word-of-mouth internet paradigm".
He said that Nokia, which reaches around 1.3bn daily users, has had to "unlearn" many things, as it has expanded from its core business of the manufacture of handsets to incorporate a greater number of social media-style features and apps. Rantala also described the lessons learnt by Nokia as "universal".
"The way we build brands has absolutely changed [from the] classical advertising model," he added. "We are talking about almost a revolution of marketing within Nokia."
Nokia's digital spend exceeded its TV spend for the first time during 2009: a crossover described by Rantala as a "point of no return".