Top 5 Takeaways from Mad Fest 2023

This month Incubeta, along with the rest of the industry, descended on Truman brewery for the highly anticipated Madfest where (if you were lucky enough to get a ticket) we were treated to a number of talks on the hottest topics in marketing.

Lauren Church

Here’s a sneak peak of just a few of our favorite moments:

1) Gen Z Are Asking What Storm? – Amy Norton, Growth Director – Incubeta 

Challenging the very theme of MadFest, our Growth Director, Amy Norton, took to the stage to uncover the reasons behind the surge in average order value (AOV) across the retail sector during times of economic certainty. The answer? Gen Z. 

Urging us to embrace our inner Gen Z and navigate the storm like never before, Amy gave the audience a three step crash course in Gen Z: 

  • Step One: emotions matter. Don’t underestimate the influence of emotions on consumer spending. 
  • Step Two: Harness the growing demographic of Gen Z. 
  • Step Three: Make sure you have the foundations, such as data, channel mix and measurement in place to acquire influential audiences, convert and retain them. 

By understanding and capitalizing on the power of Gen Z, Amy’s talk challenged conventional thinking and provided invaluable insights on how to thrive during times of uncertainty in the retail industry.

2) The Power of Brand 

“It’s the product stupid. How Muller rediscovered its magic by playing a spotlight on what already existed” – Toby Bevans, Strategy + Marketing director –  Müller

One of our favorite talks was from Müller’s Toby Bevan which left a  lasting impression on us as he explored the remarkable power of brand in times of uncertainty. It was enlightening to learn how Müller successfully revitalized a beloved household favorite (that was gradually losing its appeal among UK families),  by uncovering the core essence of their brand. Moreover, their efforts didn’t stop at a single impactful campaign; they managed to reignite momentum and pave a path for a promising future.

To build brand loyalty and increase customer lifetime value, companies need to demonstrate their values and personality to their audience. As, when consumers lower their spending, it will be on the brands they don’t know well enough to trust yet, or on the ones they are not seeing – very much out of sight, out of mind. 

As shown in Müller’s case, brands who maintain or increase their marketing investment during tough times come out on top, while those who cut back are left in the dust.

Check out how you can find growth during difficult times

3) Authenticity In Marketing 

“The Role Of Brand Purpose In Navigating Turbulent Times” – Simon Groves, Director Of Brand + Marketing – Virgin Media O

Simon Groves spoke on the importance of a brand’s purpose and authenticity, which, based on our current economic situation, is more vital now than ever before. He dove into the story of how Virgin Media O2 successfully weathered the storm by embracing these principles. 

At the core of Virgin Media O2s ethos lies their brand purpose: the belief that everyone is better off connected. This core belief serves as the foundation for all their endeavors. A notable highlight was their Christmas campaign, where they actively addressed data poverty in the UK by connecting those who couldn’t afford basic connectivity.

Creating authentic advertisements that genuinely reflect your brand is crucial for fostering unwavering brand loyalty, as well as driving higher price points and average order values. Recognizing this, many seek purpose; however, it’s not surprising that much of these efforts come across as tokenistic. To avoid tokenism, truly authentic campaigns that are aligned to your brand purpose is key. brands are now desperately 

4) Connecting The Dots With A Sleek Ux 

“How The World’s Largest Travel Platform Lost, Then Regained The Attention Of ½ Billion Global Travellers… Digitally” –   Justin Reid, Director Of Media, Destinations, Hotels And Growth-  Tripadvisor 

Justin’s talk took us on a journey through the ups and downs of Tripadvisor’s user experience (UX). He explained how Tripadvisor transitioned from a UX that was focused on the user with zero ads, and UX best practices, however due to market pressures they were forced to embrace advertisements. During his talk, Justin discussed the negative impacts of non-contextually relevant ads and disruptive website navigation – sharing how he’d to challenge his own beliefs to enable Tripadvisor to gather crucial customer data, improve navigation and checkout processes, and enhance cross-platform visibility. Emphasizing that repeated good encounters and experiences with a brand are not optional, they’re  essential in building trust with your customer.

We continually see that 73% of consumers prioritize experience over price, indicating a willingness to pay more for experiential factors such as convenience and friendly customer service. Therefore, investing in UX becomes essential, particularly during times of uncertainty and economic instability, as it directly contributes to generating profits.

5) Embracing First Party Data  

“Learning To Surf: Riding The Wave Of Cookieless Change” –  Scott Firesson, Partner Manager, Privacy + Chrome –  Google

During this panel discussion, Google delved into the transformative impact of increasing user privacy demands on online marketing. Scott discussed how ad campaigns can continue to thrive in the new cookieless paradigm, answering questions such as: can advertising campaigns achieve strong results without third party cookies and zero concessions on user privacy?

And the answer? Investing in first-party data and CRM, of course!

As online privacy concerns continue to mount, first-party data is poised to become the only game in town. So, if you want to understand your customer and respond to their changing behaviors, you need to invest in your brand’s long-term data strategy.

It’s not just about collecting data – it’s about using it in the smartest, most effective way possible. By creating value exchanges with your customers (think killer content, chatbots, and irresistible offers), you’ll not only stay visible as they shop around for longer, but will keep your data hyper-relevant and those progressive profiles sharp.

If first-party data shines a torch to the most favorable data, then effective CRM integration is how you put analysis into action. A must-have for any 360 degree approach, upgrading your CRM capabilities is the quickest way to convert your valuable insights into customer connections, and deliver responsive campaigns to the high-frequency, loyal buyers most likely to engage


Want to learn more? If you found these topics intriguing, take a look at our latest whitepaper, retail resilience where we delve into consumer behavior patterns, their response to various marketing tactics and the strategies to help you succeed in today’s uncertain climate.

Download Whitepaper


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