The mixed future of marketing

Outi Päivinen

by Outi Päivinen

In mid-September, I got the chance to represent Luxus at the ninth annual Marketing Communications Week (MVV) in Helsinki. This year, the two-day event brought together Finnish marketing, communications, advertising and HR professionals for panel discussions and keynote speeches on three exciting topics: future, technology and creativity. Given the themes' acute relevance to our business, I was eager to find out how they would fit into Finland’s dynamic marketing scene.


Print vs. digital

While some of the keynotes on marketing automation and the combination of marketing and technology were informative, enjoyable and even inspiring, equally as many seemed listless and fundamentally outdated. As expected, most of the speakers were calling for digital revolution, but surprisingly also a few voices seemed to be defending print media’s dominant role in consumer marketing.

Let’s take a look at a recent study. According to Royal Mail’s research in the UK, digital media is radically changing the advertising industry. Yet surprisingly, the rising trend appears to have limited impact on us humans. The study suggests that print ads are more likely to result in purchase decisions than digital ones, and that print advertising has the ability to create stronger emotional reactions than promoting on TV or online.

I’m not suggesting that print media has become obsolete. Instead, I’d like to point out that a future-looking marketing event is hardly the right place for singing the praises of such a traditional marketing channel. Sure, print media remains as a part of most companies’ omnichannel strategy but that doesn’t mean we should stop trying to harness the opportunities of the emerging channels.


Change is good 

Just the other week, at the Nordic Business Forum in Helsinki, the media mogul Arianna Huffington stated: “Most of our traffic comes from Social Media. The world is changing so fast and we can no more say that ‘This is my business. Period.’” And I can’t help but agree. The world of marketing, communications and business is in a state of constant flux. Being open to change and embracing innovation is absolutely crucial for businesses wanting to keep up, let alone grow. 

But there is hope for us yet. In his keynote at MVV, TBWA's Sami Tikkanen recognized agility as a key success factor. He suggested that instead of rigid quarterly planning, Finnish companies should create a marketing calendar that allows their businesses to react flexibly to dynamic conditions.


For a brighter future

Overall, I felt that this year’s Marketing Communications Week lacked a coherent message on the current state of marketing in Finland. This leads to my next question: “Is the Finnish marketing industry in a crisis?” And clearly, I’m not the only one wondering. Ville Tolvanen, the founder of Digitalist Network happened to indirectly reply to the very question with his hard-hitting tweet: “Creative industry: 90% of the stands carry pens, brochures and candy”. Each and every one of them plastered with a custom print, no doubt.

So here’s an idea. Why don’t we stop hiding behind print advertising and face the opportunities of digital channels with our minds wide open. Let’s acknowledge the indisputable fact that the world of marketing has changed – and not only for good but also for the better. Let’s get the industry back on its feet, and this time, let’s actually put the Holy Trinity of future, technology and creativity to good use!