Swedish DMA Conference – Stockholm

March 15, 2016

Presentation Summary

Kevin Roberts closed day one of the Swedish Direct Marketing Association (SWEDMA), an industry and trade association for those that produce or use direct marketing in Sweden. He presents the power of ideas in the Age of Now with four ideas to help Big Data and BIG LOVE come together.

big data and big love

We live in a connected world, a world where reason meets emotion, and big data meets big love.

And at the heart of all these connections is the ultimate driving force… The Idea… We live in the Age of the Idea… Ideas are reframing and disrupting every industry there is. Technology is enabling them, but it is the Idea which is the currency of today. . . And all great ideas are fueled by one thing: passionate emotion.

I don’t know…

Emotions not algorithms rule today, because we live in a VUCA world.

… a world of connecting not marketing, sharing not targeting. When it’s all direct, winning is about how deep not how accurately you connect.

The marketer’s challenge is to reframe VUCA, and create SUPERVUCA – give people not what they want, but what they never dreamed possible.

Quite the challenge.


When everyone’s got big data, every offer is relevant, when every message gets personal, you have table stakes, indistinguishable flakes in the snow.

Our first job as marketers today is not to analyze or to strategize… As chess Grand Master Savielly Tartakower said, “Strategy is what you do when there is nothing to do. Tactics is what you do when there is something to do.”

In our fast-changing world, analysis, at best, is always 24 hours behind.

We must start with the answer, people – and the force that drives them, the force that is them, emotion.

Data and analytics are great for predicting, reaching, testing, measuring – but they are not the secret for understanding, converting and retaining people.

Algorithms can read the lines; but emotion reads between them – turning information into insight, insight into revelation.

It is the perfection of a marketer’s spreadsheet versus the imperfection of consumer behavior.
People think with their hearts, decide with their hearts, commit with their hearts—not with their heads.

The context for connecting today is the “Age of Now” world, a real-time, on-demand, see-through eco-system of connectivity, community, and conversation.









Return on Investment

Return on Involvement

Pumping Markets

Creating Movements

Marketing today is experiencing not an evolution but a revolution. Everything is moving lightning fast and the consumer is leader. The consumer is boss. They’ve got the universe at their fingertips in a mobile-first world.

And of everything they see on their screens, they ask three very basic questions:

  • Do I want to see it again?
  • Do I want to share it?
  • Do I want to be in it?

Creative cultures that have the most ideas are the best placed to win, because only creativity has unreasonable power, only creativity breaks deadlocks.

Without an idea at the center, content is just wallpaper, background noise – from a letter in the mail to a Super bowl film.

Sweden is an ideas leader. An idea is often a reframe (Minecraft, a game about creating, not destroying!). An idea can also be surprisingly obvious (Klarna – buying online without cards).

Wherever the ideas form, physical or virtual, human or machine, inside or outside – the experience should be emotional, seamless and priceless.

The more embedded quality, service, distribution and performance become, the more the degree of emotional experience is the difference.

Here are four IDEAS that will help Big Data and BIG LOVE come together.


Martin Luther King did not say “I have a mission statement.” MLK shared a dream.
Dreams are inspirational not analytical. Revolution begins with language. Language drives purpose and direction, which creates belief in something bigger than oneself.

Apple is a tech company that adopted the language of artists: Think Different; Stay hungry. Stay foolish;Insanely Great.

I believe that “marketing is dead.” Marketing was something that was done to consumers by marketing departments, imposed on viewers through perfect media distribution systems. The Web and social blew all that up, and hijacked control from marketers to consumers.

There is zero tolerance for interruption.

People can choose to block you, ignore you, scorn you, embrace you, applaud you. Brand managers no longer own “their brand.” Brands are owned by the people who love them.


Reason leads to conclusions; Emotion leads to action.

80% of decisions are based on emotional response.

Emotion generates premium returns and Loyalty Beyond Reason. 

I reinvented brands as Lovemarks not around what people say or do, but how they feel, because Emotion can be built without limits.

  • Brands are built on Respect. Lovemarks are created out of Respect and Love.
  • Brands are owned by management, marketers, and stockholders. Lovemarks are owned by the people who love them.

Lovemarks aim to make the world a better place with what people care about, not jog people’s memories with what they care less about.

  • Great Brands were Irreplaceable. Lovemarks are Irresistible.

Lovemarks are not about building a brand but about creating a movement.

Lovemarks deliver three things people love: not an Offer, some Information and a Mechanism, but Mystery, Sensuality, and Intimacy.

MYSTERY is inspiration, dreams, icons, myths, and stories, past / present / future together…

Limiting supply is a strategy at Ferrari, to maintain high exclusivity and raise car value. It’s what we don’t know that has the most value.

SENSUALITY is sight, sound, scent, touch, and taste, the enthrallers of emotions. Consumers operate on all five senses, and most brands do not. 

Is your customer experiencing a sensual journey?

Candy Crush Saga – 1500+ levels and counting – is a touch, taste, sound and light show that rolls in mystery and community.

INTIMACY is empathy, commitment, and passion. It’s the small touch, the perfect gesture. Personal user data is not the same as intimacy!

Intimacy enables us to answer the only question people have of brands today: “How Will You Improve My Life?” 

To deliver on this is to deliver Priceless Value.

The Ritz-Carlton nailed it when they changed their idea, from “Stay with us” to “Let us stay with you.

Digital struggles with intimacy.


We’ve entered an era of data mining, excavating, crunching, modeling, targeting, predicting, visualizing, automating, tracking, sensing, monitoring and measuring.

Is this the perfect marketing moment? Gartner says that by 2017 the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO.

The future threatens CMOs becoming the “Chief Metric Officer.” CMOs need to become the “Chief Magic Officer” operating with a very simple equation:
IQ + EQ + TQ + BQ. (Fix fast learn fast fix fast)

All powered by CQ: Creativity.


People need stories, not explanations. Since the beginning of time, making sense of things through stories has been as instinctual as seeking food, clothing, and shelter.

Ten years ago I wrote a book called Sisomo: The Future on Screen. “Si-so-mo” stands for sight, sound, motion, the greatest combination of sensory elements ever put together.

Whether you call this television advertising or social video, whether you’re watching network television or Facebook or YouTube or Instagram, whether you’re facetiming or chatbotting, whether it’s embedded in an email footer, the screen is the epi-center of today’s story world.
There’s a growing body of research proving that emotional ad campaigns are more effective than rational ones in driving purchase.

People’s search for emotional benefits is constant over time, and the job is to know which emotions to engage. Shouting for attention – selling by yelling – won’t get a brand on a shopping list or in the shopping cart.

The most effective SuperBowl ads are proven to have a story at their heart, not humor or sex. The more complete the story the higher the commercial performs in the ratings; the more people like it, the more they want to share it.

Because the emphasis is less about storytelling and more about story-sharing. Sharing must be part of the operating system.

Technology, information and hardware enable, but human, emotional storytelling converts. People like technology, but people love people.

I ask myself every day: what makes a great ad? The answer is simple. It’s got to make me laugh, make me cry, or make me think.

And it needs to make me want to pass it on, share it, comment on it, participate. But Big Data needs Big Emotion, Big Humanity, and Big Storysharing.

To win you need Apollo and Dionysus. Butch and the Kid. Spock and Kirk. You need the strictly rational and the passionately emotional.

The future of marketing is Big Data AND Big Love.

Because neither of us is as good as both of us. 

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