O2's CMO: the five things I'm excited about in 2019

Fascinating, challenging and dynamic. This was the view of 2019 I shared in my opening remarks at the Cannes Lions event in London this week.

The team there kindly invited me to talk through five things I’m excited about in 2019:

Brand Courage

This is about reaching beyond your category or sector to demonstrate relevance and your place in culture. Brands can do this by showing leadership on the larger issues affecting society. As long as it’s in an authentic way.

With trust dropping in major institutions globally, 2019 is undoubtedly the time for brands to face into issues that are pertinent to them and take that leadership role.  I’m excited because, as a result, I think we’re going to see some really exciting, brave work this year.

Engaging customers in more effective and personalised ways

This year the opportunity for brands to be even more meaningful and relevant to their customers is even greater – thanks to the ever advancing nature of technology.

This year you’ll see a step change once again in the use of data, voice and AI to build meaningful relationships with customers.

It’s something we’ve already tested through our partnership with the NSPCC, helping keep kids safe online with an Alexa game, Parents vs Kids. And just last month we announced a partnership with Spotify which matches music fans – based on their listening history and preferences – to live music nearby.

The technology is there, waiting for creative marketeers to harness it.

Transparency in the digital ecosystem

Transparency in digital marketing and platforms continues to climb its way to the top of the agenda. I am saddened that it has taken some quite shocking events to get us here, but it’s now here to stay.

In 2019, as advertisers, we can now be much more demanding about where our creative goes and who is seeing it.

The start of the 5G revolution

5G will change the way our society and economy functions. It will accelerate innovation like driverless cars and the range of smart tech we’ve heard about for the last decade.

For marketing this means not only faster content, but more immersive content. We’ve been hearing about VR/AR and even MR for years – and now with 5G it can become a mobile reality.

At O2 we’ve announced we’ll be bringing 5G to the UK in 2019, starting in the four corners of the UK – cities Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London. I can’t wait.

The Rugby World Cup

Finally, as the CMO of O2, I have to mention what is going to be the most exciting international sporting event this year – the Rugby World Cup.

We are proud sponsors of England Rugby, and have been for 24 years now. In fact it’s now more a partnership than a sponsorship.

Eddie Jones has built a strong, quick team who I believe will do great things in Japan this autumn and we will be supporting them all the way through our ongoing #WearTheRose campaign.

So how do I think Marketeers can succeed in 2019?

  1. Be bold with your brand – stand for something more
  2. Leverage technology to drive superior customer engagement
  3. Demand full transparency of your digital marketing spend and placement
  4. Prepare your company for the 5G revolution
  5. Finally, support England and Wear The Rose!