The future of everything—marketing, technology and even journalism—is connection and community, Facebook vice president and chief marketing officer Gary Briggs told an assembly of marketers.
(Editor’s note: Briggs spoke at Mumbrella360, a marketing conference held this June in Australia. The keynote conversation was published for the first time earlier this week on YouTube.)
In the hour-long Q&A session with Mumbrella founder Tim Burrowes, Briggs expounded at length on topics ranging from Facebook’s focus on mobile to his favorite Louis C.K. bits, but one subject remained the focus—as the world unites closer together, so too must marketers. Briggs spoke multiple times about the increasing need for cooperation between departments to succeed in the digital age.
“The big part of what you’re focusing on is trying to teach the company to think in marketing terms, often without using the terminology,” Briggs said regarding the reluctance of many young tech companies to embrace established marketing practices. “The agencies I find are doing well are changing the working model. It’s why you’re seeing consulting firms come into the agency business; they’re more used to cohabitating with companies. Everybody gets better: the client gets better, the agency gets better the closer you’re working and the less you have this divide between the two groups.”
The marketing executive, who’s formerly held senior roles with Google, PepsiCo, IBM and Motorola and been with Facebook for the last four years, went on discuss his predictions for internal streamlining.
“This distinction between a brand marketer and a direct marketer is going away. The best marketers on Facebook today are the ones who don’t make that distinction,” said Briggs. “In broad terms, the communications teams and the marketing teams report separately to respective executives, but we are oftentimes, in terms of anything we’re working on, two in a box.”
Part of the reason for this growing connection is the speed at which the economy has changed.
“Nearly 100 percent of our revenue now comes from products that did not exist five years ago. That’s how fast mobile has moved,” Briggs said. “This will happen again. The shift to mobile will be much like the shift to other platforms and other types of user experiences.”
Briggs spoke with pride about how quickly his company has shifted its focus in the past, citing the flexibility of Facebook’s internal teams and encouraged others to do so too.
“One of the reasons we’ve insourced a good amount of creative into our company . . . is speed. Our creatives are working hand-in-hand with project managers on advertising,” Briggs said. “The people who run the marketing organization don’t just sit next to the brand people with the data people parked in a different building. The analytics people are not in a technology organization, they are all together. It doesn’t matter if they are brand or direct marketing, what matters is the results in driving the business for the company on behalf of the customers they serve.”
But beyond connection between departments in a single business, and Briggs emphasized the importance of connection with consumers most of all.
“A lot of times people really do identify with key brands in their life,” he said. “Our job as marketers is to be part of the conversation with people, and put ourselves in conversations in ways that people want.”
When asked about the how best to implement altered reality marketing, Briggs added, “Think again about the target, think again about what kind of experience they’re having . . . You have to ask why—what is the kind of conversation you want to have with people?”
Despite the rapid advances that Briggs anticipates will affect the marketing and advertising industries, he remained optimistic about the future.
“There are times when you know too much, and as such massive consumers of media and technology, we sometimes know a little bit too much. People are more optimistic. People want to see one another succeed and grow and be fulfilled,” he said. “I find that deeply heartening.”
“Are we building a world we want to live in?” Briggs asked, regarding Facebook’s intentions to expand internet coverage for the five billion global citizens currently unconnected. “A key part of that, for us is community.”