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6 October 2015

The House of Marketing at the &THEN conference in Boston - Insights Day 2

A day full of inspiration, creativity, disruption and (r)evolution! The keynote speakers were brilliant, visionary, progressive and insightful in their own way.


Blake Mycoskie, also known as Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS, revolutionizes retail. Jon Iwata, the “Think Big” Senior VP Marketing & Communications of IBM, is building a data-driven world via artificial intelligence. Kevin Roberts, aka Executive Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi, is living in a “supervuca” (vibrant, unreal, crazy, astounding) world.


Blake Mycoskie developed the “one-for-one” business model: for every pair of shoes bought, a child in need gets shoes ; for every pair of glasses bought, a person in need gets help to restore sight ; … He is convinced that not only charity, but also business can solve human problems. Giving and having a clear purpose are good for business:

  • Customers become your greatest marketers, because they connect with your mission.
  • You attract and retain amazing talent, employees who want to have a purpose.
  • You attract great partners, who support your brand and raise awareness.

Jon Iwata welcomed us in the Era of Cognitive Business. With artificial intelligence he is rethinking and reshaping the world we are living in. IBM’s Watson is an artificially intelligent computer system capable of answering questions and doing groundbreaking work in for example healthcare (oncology). Watson is now learning to see and even to hear. Are you already afraid that robots are going to take over your job? But what if computers are not only about data, but also enhance creativity? Computational creativity is already a fact. Chefs in restaurants create new dishes based on data. What is next? Computers will for sure help marketers to outthink the limits of creativity…

Kevin Roberts didn’t talk about the Era of Cognitive Business, like Jon Iwata did. Kevin is convinced that we need to leave the Era of New and enter the Age of Now:

Era of New




Return on Investment

Pumping markets

Age of Now




Return on Involvement

Creating movements

To survive in what he calls the supervuca world, the Chief Marketing Officer should become the Chief Magic Officer, not just focusing on math but also on magic.

The speeches went much further than this summary. Please get back to me so I can discuss with you all the details and insights. Just drop me an email ( and I’m sure you will get even more inspired!