Here's what we learned at this year's Influence 360 conference

From 27-29 April, MARKETING-INTERACTIVE played host to Influence 360, an insights-packed three-day conference about all things content and communications, featuring some of the biggest names and brands from around the industry.

Without boring or inane stuff that marketers already know, Influence 360 tackled topics from social issues to growing on a budget to even neuroscience. Built for content and communications strategists with the aim of making marketing interesting and impactful, our multi day bootcamp offered a look inside the minds of those who've actually done it and do it each and every day.

The event was produced with the support of our Platinum Sponsors Emarsys, Meltwater, PRIZM Group, and SAP; our Exhibitors APSIS and Reasonable; our Brand Sponsors iTE and The Egg; and our Supporting Partners SEO Review Tools, Smart Money Match, Telum Media, WARC, WeHustle, and Wynd.

Each day of the conference was broken into a different theme. Day one was themed "Captivate", day two was themed "Convince", and Day 3 was all about "Convert".

Day one, Captivate, opened with important words from educator, speaker and author Mark Schaefer, who explained the importance of momentum in marketing, as we live in a world with so much content that even being great rather than good might not be enough. 

Meltwater's Melvin Chng explained the importance of social listening, as having the proper data tools can make all the difference when it comes to reaching the right demographic.

WeWork's Angie Zheng, HP's Geraldine Kan, and Cisco's Puneet Pal Singh gave us an excellent panel on the pitfalls of many existing content calendars — while giving us some templates and pointers for a far more effective model.

Sarah Mathews from Trip Advisor lit up the room with the importance of putting personality and humanity into your content as audiences are no longer moved by bland corporate messaging.

With the growth of podcasts and other forms of audio marketing in recent years, HARMAN/Samsung's David Glaubke, Warner Music Asia's Becky Yeung, and KKBox Group's Terry Leong gave us some deep insights on how music, stories, and podcasts can create an audio experience to draw in and retain customers.

Akira Mitsumasu told us how Japan Airlines uses neuroscience and human psychology to create effective content that will improve customer experience and also create a long-lasting impact.

Content is not a one-way path, no is working in it. NBCUniversal's Tina Shaw, Netflix's Myleeta Aga, and LINE's Dan Zonmani each shared their unique path and approach when it comes to creating effective and memorable content. 

There are a lot of professed marketing gurus out there that will tell you what they think is the right way to do content, without actually doing it themselves. INSEAD's Bhavana Gupta, HSBC's Jennifer Wright, and CNN's Dan Epstein tackled this content "fake news" and explained why the old rules of marketing no longer apply.

LINE's Dan Zonmani joined us again alongside IBM Asia Pacific's Tara Moody to explain why evergreen content has more value than many give it, and why you should fit it into your strategy as well.

Qutoutiao's Aileen Lei, 9GAG's Karen Cheng, and Save the Children's Madhu Kalra gave some of their best tips on producing content for massive audience bases.

As there's more to content than just the words or images on a screen, FIS's Melanie Milazzo, Aon's Angelyn Varkey, and Zalora's Chirstopher Daguimol told us how by creating a customer experience, you can convert them from non-believers to believers.

Finally, to wrap up our day, Unilever's Kristine Go, YouTube's Jennifer Clark, and TenCent's Cam MacMurchy gave an interesting and timely discussion on how brand's can respond to social issues without becoming a target of an angry online audience.

Our second day was all about "Convince".

To kick things off, American Express's Courtney Colwell went through the challenges of our "new normal" and how marketers (including her) have had to shift cultures and behaviors to survive and thrive amid the pandemic.

JLL's Gauri Jaisingh helped bring that message home with a presentation focused on the importance of that internal company culture, because if the people you work with don't buy in, then your marketing will never be as effective with consumers.

To continue the discussion, Xero's Peggy Lee, She Loves Data's Sheila Berman, and DHL's Nicholas Leong joined in to offer insights on how they approach rallying internal stakeholders to buy in to their efforts.

As senior vice president for Asia Pacific, Audible's Matthew Gain told his story of how he built the mostly English-based brand into APAC.

The Economist Group's Joseph Jones, Logitech's Jules O'Brien, and 100Most and French Rotational's Winifred Cheung held a workshop on creating effective copy, and offered suggestions on inspiration when the well runs dry.

Bluebell's Jacky Leung and Emarsys's Daniel Hagos shared an interesting discussion on being a brand that manages other brands, including Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Moschino, Venchi, and many others.

SAP's Stephanie So went deep into customer experience, and shared how brands can bridge the gap between customer service and marketing.

In the post-pandemic era, budgets across all business have been affected. Schaeffler Group's Ashish Shukul, Respira Breathwork's Aigul Safiullina and Tencent's Cam MacMurchy joined once again to teach us how to bootstrapped marketers can still build an effective content plan.

Otter Products' Freeman Chiu, The Economist's Alice Tong, and global marketing expert Jag Sharma told us how to plan the when and where for the right content at the right time.

CNA's Sumithra Prasanna, Schneider Electric's Derrick Koh, and WWF's Tristan Tremschnig joined us for a very timely discussion on living in a world where brands are often expected to take sides on social issues, and how to decide when the choice is between neutrality and authenticity.

IBM Asia Pacific's Tara Moody told us how less content can be more effective as long as it's meaningful.

And finally to wrap the day, Pandora's Vita Clausen, Acer's Manolo Winkler, and Johnson & Johnson's Cecilia Poh taught us how putting all of your marketing into KOLs with huge followings might not be what your brand needs.

Day three was focused on "Convert."

Honest Cooking's Kalle Bergman opened the day with how content can come from within, but the best insights can come from your customers - plus, how to get those insights.

TripAdvisor's Sarah Mathews joined us again with Roborock's Andy Knight and PUBG's Aaron Boulding to explain how they use and mobilise brand leaders, sale and communication departments to create new distribution channels.

Wolters Kluwer's Karyn Flores-Jones and Hotel ICON's Vallois Choi taught us how strategic email CTAs and new content optimisation methods can prep your brand for a post cookies world.

Classified Group's Claudia Cheung, Quora's Gurmit Singh, and Dell Technologies' Narayan Keshavan explained how the customer journey has changed with more touchpoints than ever, and how to capture audience attention during these "micro-moments."

Lenovo's Genevieve Hilton explored how brands can think globally but act locally when it comes to tailoring their content to diverse audiences around the world.

PRIZM Group's Jeffrey Hau taught us how new technologies such as AI, AR, VR, blockchain and NFTs have changed the digital content game forever, with tips on how your brand can maximise their potential.

IBM's Sherry Gera joined marketing expert Jag Sharma to discuss the importance of using the data to measure effectiveness of your content. 

Orbis's Elaine Lau and Iris Lam taught us about how they turned the annual 20km Moonwalkers event into a virtual walk amid the COVID pandemic.

With a world changed by the pandemic, technology, and social issues, Thermo Fisher's Mihir Deshpande, IBM's Sherry Gera, and L'Oréal's Melanie Masriel took our event home with a look to the future. As culture shifts, brands and their content must shift with it or be left behind forever.

Stay tuned for more events from MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.