MSIX – Marketing Science Ideas Xchange


So on November 24th we had MSIX III, in its third year it’s been successful but steady. We’ve had around 100 people to each event. I’ve copied the speech about how I introduced the event this year as I wanted to alert people to how I felt about MSIX, and the MSIX awards.  I really want it to continue in 2017 – but I’ll need to make some changes. Any recommendations / thoughts appreciated. Cheers.


Let me start with a little story.

In 2006 Facebook and Twitter launched, and had immediate success. I was at strategically led agency called Naked, at the time and our biggest client was Telstra.  I was chatting with my partner Mat Baxter about our plans to reach the youth market and we knew that ‘social media’ was a thing, as were ‘influencers’.  So we devised we dreamed up a way thought we could create something where we could get a whole lot of influencers to promote Telstra to other influencers. We’d carefully select the influencers using the OLS (Opinion Leader Survey) and my cool learnings. We’d carefully select these influencers – and give them tasks such as taking photos of themselves using Telstra phones and so on. The website would be called ‘RIPPLE’. We spoke to our client, she loved the idea.

So I costed up RIPPLE and said to Mat it would be about $X – mat got hold of it, spiced the proposal up and bit – and did what Mat did best – he added a zero to the figure I came up with.  We got it up In 2007, and Ripple spluttered along a bit with Telstra but we started to see the potential of this thing. We thought this social media thing would be big so with Photons backing, spun it off and created a separate company launched November 2008 called ‘The Population’. The first (one of the first) businesses fully dedicated to social media in this market. It too spluttered along and around a year before it died. Mumbrella wrote a scathing article about it – suggesting it was too ambitious for the time – they were right. It died. But social media is now flourishing.

I share this anecdote for two reasons.

The first is that an investor once said to me ‘Being Early Feels a Lot like Being Wrong’. I love this quote and it reminds me a little about Marketing Sciences.  There are some companies championing this area – harnessing the power of marketing sciences. Ogilvy Change internationally, Behaviour Change Partners locally to champion behavioural economics and marketing sciences in everything they do should be commended. They are the pioneers.  As are all the participants of conference, supporters, speakers and delegates. It’s in its third year now and the size is exactly the same – around 100. It’s not growing, but nor is it declining.

There are a bunch of lead indicators that suggest this is the future of marketing – where science and creativity can co-exist and work together to help build brands, causes movements whatever. But at the moment they are just still lead indicators. Marketing, advertising and media – it’s all still largely just made up – clients adjusting last years budgets slightly depending on sales, or agency creative saying ‘trust me ‘ or ‘if it scares you it must be good’ bullshit like this. And media agencies and owners recommending what makes them the most money, over what is most effective – it’s all still rife.

Yep in many ways – in the world of marketing science being early feels a lot like being wrong. – That’s the negative bit. However, here’s the positive….

The second reason I tell this story is because one the speakers speaking here today is proving that we were indeed early – but right. TRIBE is an influencer marketing business, and is the success story of the influencer marketing space. It has both creativity and behavioural sciences at its core and its flourishing. And we are going to see today a lot more examples of business and ideas who do this. You’ll hear from

  • research companies who have embraced a more scientific method
  • creative agencies who use data to fuel their creativity
  • Entertainment companies who work in partnership with universities to produce scientifically validated entertainment!
  • And clients who are using data to better inform their marketing.

You’ll also get exposed to concepts such as embodied cognitions, and hear where artificial intelligence is heading.  Lots of lead indicators to support the hypothesis – that this room is a glimp into the future.  So I thank you all for coming along today – for your vision and commitment to this space. Even if I cant quite articulate what this space is.

So let’s get on with it. The Rules

  1. Heckle and participate. Feel free to give our speakers immediate feedback means Great. Faster. Slower.
  2. At morning tea you’ll all do a group activity in your colours on your lapel. That activity will be ‘draw a picture of what you’ve learned this morning’. Best picture wins a prize.
  3. At lunch time I’ll hold some money in my hand – whichever group comes up with the best way (using marketing science – not force – to unlock that money from my hand wins it.
  4. At the conclusion of the day is a quiz – 10 items – the winner and runners up get a copy of dan Arelies game ‘The irrational Game’, a copy of my book, and other random stuff.
  5. Stay around for the MSIX AwARDS tonight – free food and booze and help the winners celebrate and hear some of their insights into how they made their campaigns amazing.


Use your phones / get your laptops out / distract the speakers / have fun / walk in and out. Have fun and learn loads.