13 things I loved about the 2015 International Content Marketing Summit

Fraser Allen
3 min readDec 3, 2015

The CMA Summit in London provided so much appetising brain food that my head feels like a well-nourished watermelon. Here are 13 paraphrased observations I jotted down

1 Anna Watkins, Guardian Labs: In this cluttered world, anything boring is ignored and, unfortunately, there is a lot of very boring brand content out there. (So true)

2 Ben McKay, MEC: 37% of shared content is editorial. That’s more than video or images and far more than tools, calculators, interactive, PDFs etc. Powerful shared content doesn’t need to be expensive – you just need to write good stuff.

3 Genevieve Kunst, Popsugar: Content marketing is not about delivering a quick sale, it’s about building a relationship so that when the customer is thinking about buying something, you are in their mind.

4 Allyson Stewart-Allen, International Marketing Partners: There’s a huge disconnect around many luxury brands – their content often doesn’t look like ‘luxury’ or match the experience of visiting the store. There’s a big opportunity (for brands and agencies) to do a lot better there.

5 Douglas McCabe, Enders Analysis: 86% of consumer time spent on mobile is spent on apps – only 14% is spent on browsers. Consumer time spent on PC and tablet appears to have peaked; consumer time on mobile is much higher and still rising. (How does Google feel about that?)

6 After a lot of data and research stuff (I know, it’s really important) it was so much fun to receive a refreshing blast of creativity from Frazer Hurrell of AOL with snapshots of campaigns such as Persona Synthetics. Brilliant.

7 Wonderful talk from Stephen Rosenthal from Google too. He introduced us to YouTube star Dodie Clark and her withering views on brands’ failure to understand social. Watch it – you won’t regret it. She’s very funny, quite scary and says that only middle-aged men in suits use hashtags. #ohbollocksthatisme

8 Trish Halpin from Marie Claire explained how her magazine is turning into a fashion retailer – both online and with a physical store in London. As more and more retail brands try to become publishers, will more publishers try to become retailers? Watch this space for the Hot Rum Cow pub.

9 Ed Couchman, Facebook: People aren’t ‘searching’ for stuff so much any more, they’re ‘discovering’ it through shared content.

Ed also said that, as the world becomes more complex, we find it easier and quicker to digest information in visual form – the evidence lies in the astonishing growth in the use of emojis and stickers. How long before brands such as banks launch emoji-based campaigns? 😁

10 Alastair Cotterill, Instagram: We’ve turned a full circle. Emojis are just a modern take on hieroglyphics. 😜

Alastair also said: There is a huge opportunity for brands to re-imagine copy through visuals and explore the art of silent movie making. That sounds like a throwaway line but I think Alastair has pinpointed a very exciting opportunity for content agencies there. Just as intriguing is Instagram’s move into 360 video.

As part of the Facebook empire, Alastair also revealed that the ‘Like’ button was nearly called the ‘Awesome’ button. The world would have been a worse place if that had happened, he solemnly observed.

11 Conny Kalcher, LEGO Group, put on a great presentation and I liked this quirky insight: LEGO is a first generation product in China. Some parents think it’s broken when they open the box.

12 Michael Sadicario, Storyful: Brands usually take months to put together big, one-off content marketing campaigns. If brands want to be publishers, they need to behave more like publishers. That means putting stuff out there more frequently, more quickly.

13 Shaul Olmert, Playbuzz: To be a publisher, you used to need a huge printing press and a fleet of trucks. Now you can put a pic of a dress on Tumblr and you’re a publisher. Old distinctions are irrelevant. Now we have platforms with tools and anyone can use them, whether they're publishers, advertisers or end-users.

That’s a great way of looking at it.

There were two more speakers but unfortunately my watermelon head and I had to go and get a train. Well done CMA – plus all the speakers and compere par excellence Dominic Mills.

More from me:

Discover seven astonishing new indie magazines for 2016, including Spam Javelin and Druggy Wedding.



Fraser Allen

I help organisations with their content and communications, host/produce several podcasts, and curate social media for the Library of Mistakes.