To succeed in the attention economy, brands and platforms require a considerate approach, speakers say.
OMG MENA's inaugural stakeholder conference in Saudi Arabia focused on the topic of attention - how to earn, measure, work with and convert it into brand and sales lift. “The Battle for Attention” looked at this other valuable yet depleting commodity from different perspectives, bringing together international marketing thought leadership and heavyweight speakers. Headlined by Prof. Scott Galloway and featuring OMG and industry experts, the event was attended by close to 200 senior client, agency, media, and research executives.
Opening the proceedings, OMG MENA CEO Elda Choucair placed the event into the context of the holding group’s expansion into Saudi Arabia and its partnership with the country’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, specifically for its IGNITE program. The ambition is to share thought leadership and best practice through events as well as build a digital talent pipeline through education and training.
In his keynote, his first speaking engagement in Saudi Arabia, Prof. Scott Galloway provided his unique take on the attention economy. He reminded the companies that make money from an Internet built on advertising of their responsibilities. He argued that in the quest to monetize consumers’ attention, tech giants are producing a toxic emission of increased polarization, division, and misinformation, leading to societal issues like teen depression. “Like with the climate, we need to take the temperature down on the Internet,” he said, urging the audience to rely on more ethical and positive ways when using consumer attention, on top of regulations and age-gating.
The world’s leading expert on attention and CEO of Amplified Intelligence, Prof. Karen Nelson-Field, told marketers to build strategies around the economic consequences of inattention in their businesses. She also advised a more respectful approach. “Think about your creative and how much attention you might need so that you plan and buy the right platform and only the right amount of attention,” she said.
OMD’s Managing Director-Product at OMD Worldwide, Jean-Paul Edwards, explained how they can now manage attention far more effectively in this fast-changing attention landscape. It is not about just maximizing attention but also maximizing the number of impacts that deliver the attention needed to achieve the required business effect. “This means we can optimize channel placement and creative decisions to deliver growth and a more sustainable media experience for consumers, brands, and content creators. With our Omni platform, OMG teams can deliver these improvements at scale,” he added. Joining Prof. Nelson-Field and Edwards in a panel discussion, Chris Solomi, Chief Digital Officer of OMG MENA, revealed some of the findings of the first GCC attention study and OMG’s roadmap for attention in the coming year.
Zooming out to consider the wider evolution of marketing, Luca Allam, CEO of PHD MENA, warned that the CMOs’ priorities (personalization capabilities, customer journey orchestration, balance between short- and long-term growth, and restructure for operational effectiveness) are leading them to embrace a new mindset. “Marketers who adopt the investor mindset, focused on intelligence-led growth, prioritize investment in five key human and technological capabilities to future-proof their business for the next decade,” he said.
“16 years ago, Omnicom Media Group MENA created the first industry conference by an agency bringing world-class and global thought leaders to the stage for our partners, clients, and staff. Our mission was to inspire progress, elevate standards, and future-proof strategies. This year, we’ve gone one step further by decentralizing and taking this approach to Riyadh,” Elda Choucair said. “Listening to the provocative Professor Galloway reminded me how much we need food for our minds, how much we grow by being challenged in our thoughts, and how rewarding it is to take a break from our daily routine to be inspired and fractionally changed forever. I’m delighted we brought so many partners together to discuss attention, a crucial metric and approach marketing that has the capacity of changing marketing and media radically.”