This year my colleagues and I got a chance to attend Marketing Festival in Prague. Its a two day festival for all marketers out there whether you are a PPC specialist, brand strategist or head of performance.

Let’s get into facts now

The 1st Marketing Festival was 6 years ago and it all started in Ostrava. The festival has started with 1000 people. Today, the festival has 2300 attendees yearly. It is considered one of the biggest marketing conferences in the world and this year had really the best line up of all. Experts such as Dan Ariely, Mark Ritson, Christopher Wylie and many others went on a stage in Prague Congress Center.

It was my first year and I liked that Mr Faborsky (founder) made it a bit more strategic and motivational, rather than oriented on optimizing Google feeds. I agree that it must be hard to get everyone interested because marketers could mean SEO, social, email and other specialists so how do you make that happen?

Well, you must make it relatable to everyone. And I think he did a good job with that.

Will Reynolds

The first speaker was Wil Reynolds, founder of Seer Interactive, which a search agency. He has over 15 years of experience doing and talking about search. Yet his talk was about not backing up your premises with your experiences. His talk was called Where Search is Going in 2019. The main points he talked about was that Google is getting better at understanding human signals and that where the future of search is.

He also says that human signals can override algorithmic signals. He gave a great example of someone who made an article about how to get higher rankings on Google search. The post was showing up on the first page of a query: How to get high. So people were not really getting what they really wanted and googles algorithm found out and removed it in a couple of days.

He also talked about how we should avoid the hype cycle. The biggest hype now is mobile only, mobile is the future and us marketers should all focus on mobile. Well, we had mobile in 2001. You could literally browse on the internet on your mobile in 2001. Nobody was doing it because the timing was not right. And this applies to a lot of things these days. He mocks the voice search a lot. As well as social, chatbots, AI and any other hype there now is. What he values though is data. Will states that he does not trust his gut anymore. He did, but he does not anymore and instead started to collect data. He now has 1 terabyte of data that he can analyze and make his decision on that. The speech was okay. Speaker was entertaining and I think a lot of people had fun.

Next speaker was Christopher Wylie, the famous Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal whistleblower. I heard his talk already at Websummit so I was not impressed by this guy that much. However, I am pretty sure that those who never heard of him were intellectually pleased. Me, personally I don’t like his speaker style, because it is way too informal and there is a thin line between being sloppy and informal. His story is truly interesting but the dude did not have a structure at all.

Jono Alderson

Next was Jono Alderson, digital strategist, marketing technologist, full stack developer, keynote speaker as he calls himself. He actually has a quite nice website, doesn’t he? He took an opportunity to talk whether digital is dead and that all of our tactics will stop work eventually. The highlights from his speech were that the gap between brands and platform is widening. He talks about brands being transactional and people visit their page only if they are already interested in the product. The second ones are platforms as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn which exist to create content and being a market place for brands. They sell attention to brands. Furthermore, he says that we become extremely reliant on paid ads and content marketing, everything we do is stealing attention from platforms and that this model is imperfect because consumers don’t want to leave the website they are browsing. So he offers a solution: Distributed content that keeps consumer on Facebook or other platform and both brands and consumer are happy because people see the content and stay at the platform.

Other cool news was that Instagram added checkout and conversion functionality and officially owns each and every step of the customer journey and they don’t need to visit your website anymore. His ultimate solution was to shift our objectives towards positively influencing brand preference and recall. We could do that by building brand preference. To become chosen because consumer recognizes us and connect to us. He showed an example of Procter and Gamble and their brands. When you visit Ariel’s website, they don’t sell Ariel. Snickers or Coca Cola don’t sell on their websites also. But they are on top of consumers mind. A lot of brands are doing the opposite actually because we are living in a day of conversions! He suggests that what if we start to think about content differently so people actually like your brand? His speech had many great points so I will probably open up this topic in another article but I loved this speech. It was one of the strongest ones.

Dan Ariely

Up next was one and only Dan Ariely, the author of many bestselling books and James B Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. I recommend reading his books to anyone. Well, so back to his talk about how to change behaviour. He presents a model where we need to see changing behaviour like sending a rocket to space:
  1. Reducing friction
  2. How do we add more fuel

He talked about many great examples where he could see the change in behaviour with the help of many tactics. One of them is that people will always rather do nothing than do something and benefit from it. This was told with a story about an online pharmacy which wanted to make the people change from branded medication to a generic one. The branded costs about 20 dollars and the generic only 5 dollars. They tried discounts, they tried all the tricks. Nothing worked because all of the tricks required actions for people. Then they tried an experiment where all the people had to write a letter. They send letters to all people saying that if you want to continue to get medications you must write back and when you send back the letter, you can choose which medication you want. 80-90 % changed to generic. This was one of many great examples Dan gave and it really opens up many questions about our rationality as humans.


Dan Ariely

Another amazing example was with savings. He says that 2000 years ago we saved by saving goats and chicken. Savings were visible and neighbours could really see how much everyone saved. Today our savings our invisible and spending is super visible. It is a super big difference in the past and future. Another phenomenon is that we take other people efforts for granted. If you ask a couple about their common chores in the house and what percentage that is compared to their partners, they both say some number but when you add them up, its always more than 100 %. It shows that we think that we always do more than the other because what we do is visible to us, we see all the details. We take out the trash, its a 15 steps process. My partner pays the bills, that’s the only one thing. That’s why we tend to nag at our partners that we do more in the house. So he suggests doing a powerpoint presentation to our partners. I think that was a joke. I mean unless Patrick wants to really see some slides. He concludes with a thought about what we achieved in 300 million years and he said that we got closer to Superman. All kinds of technology help us to overcome our limited physical ability. Superman flies, we got planes to fly. We wanted to see in the dark, we invented the lights. All kinds of things. So he asks, what about our mental ability? What are the tools for making better decisions? With that, he ends his speech.

Kirsty Hulse

What was surprising was that throughout the whole day, there was only one woman at the stage. Something to think about. Her name was Kirsty Hulse, speaker, author of the book called The Future is Freelance, Amazon #1 Bestseller, and brain-based coach, similar to me. She talked about creativity and how everyone could learn how to do it. I really like this speech. Not only because her overall presence was quite strong but her content was rich. Her talk was mostly about how we live in the age when we reward not making mistakes and meanwhile we are exposed to 4000 adverts a day. She talked about how we need creativity to incite emotion because emotions enhance our recall of a brand or product. For example: Starbucks has a horrible coffee, but they sell aspiration. But creativity does not guarantee performance but it boosts it. So the question is why are we not learning creativity? We don’t we sit down and master creativity? The myth is that we are either creative or analytical. Well, she said that that’s not the case and its a complete bullshit. We could be both, research focused and also be creative. So here are three steps to master creativity:
  • habits
  • brainstorms
  • process

She also introduced a couple of easy techniques like getting outside will make you more creative because oxygen is better quality around trees or having brainstorms on Slack. Huge brainstorms involving many people are counterproductive she says. Also, she recommends having hobbies outside of your daily job. That will make your mind go outside of known. Her speech was great and I would recommend seeing her.


Random Words

Random Words

Dr. Robert Epstein


My overall experience at Marketing Festival 2019 was enjoyable and I would definitely come again. What I would do differently is to come later and not on Wednesday. It is communicated that the festival starts on Wednesday. Yes, there are workshops on Thursday but the actual conference with speeches starts and finishes on Friday. The parties on Wednesday and Thursday were a bit lame and I did not sign up for the workshops so it was a bit slow.

I must say that on the actual day of the conference, organizers made a great job with catering. Free food, free beer and cocktails for 2300 people all day is not an easy job. My colleagues and I really appreciated that. When it comes to speeches, it was good quality but I did not like the fact that it was not aligned together. One speaker said that his whole speech was based on his 20-year experience and then the other one said that you can’t rely on your experience and you need to get to data. It left me thinking what do I do now. Maybe it was on purpose to leave it up to me.

Marketing Festival 2019

Marketing Festival 2019