Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

The road to Madfest: Iris Meijer, CMO, Vodafone Business

Ahead of Mad//Fest London 2021, official media partner NDA is chatting to some of the brilliant line-up of speakers before they step on to the stage (for real) at the industry’s first big in-person event in the UK in over a year. In this edition, we speak to Iris Meijer, CMO, Vodafone Business.

Why are you most excited about speaking at MADFest and your chosen topic?

First, it’s very exciting to be able to go to a face-to-face event again! I really enjoyed the digital version last year, so I’m very much looking forward to being back.  

It’s been hard to be in marketing during the pandemic, with constant changes needed in the way brands position themselves, and a lasting shift in how people wish to interact with brands. I’m going to be talking more about this and sharing some insights on how the Vodafone brand has adapted to the challenges in my discussion, so please do come along to hear more.

What disruption in your market have you been most awed by in the last year?

The notion of brand purpose has been growing in importance but last year brands really had to live it. There are so many great stories that illustrate this from consumer and business facing brands. Telecoms suddenly became the glue that held society together, for example, from people catching up with relatives on video calls to connected COVID wards that use smart technology to help patients.

Purpose is continuing to drive brand behaviours as we (hopefully) start to emerge from the pandemic too. Now you can see the focus that businesses and governments are putting on recovery, such as working to get small businesses back on their feet. It’s here to stay, and it’ll be a great driver for change. 

What has kept you smiling in your working life during the last year’s turbulence?

My team and my colleagues. It’s so refreshing to meet new joiners, be they in more senior roles or in graduate positions. I’m very much looking forward to seeing everyone in person again, when the time is right.

What positive impacts on long-term consumer behavioural shifts will the pandemic have?

Fundamentally people expect more from brands now. Sustainability, fairness and pushing for a more equitable world are top of the agenda and will begin to feature in purchase decisions from consumers and businesses. This is such a big positive as it will help drive real change across the world.

Looking at the business world, I think the importance of small businesses to economies across Europe has really been hammered home. It’s great to see policymakers and enterprise organisations coming together to support these companies and help them to bounce back from the pandemic stronger than before.

What technology, innovation or market development are you most excited about for the year ahead?

You’re going to have to bear with me here – Multi-access Edge Computing, or MEC.

What the heck is that, I hear you say? Well, all those 5G networks you’ve doubtless heard about are only the start. MEC technology will really shake things up. It basically accelerates how fast things can be processed over a mobile network.

Are you a sports fan? Imagine live data from inside a rugby ball on match day or being able to see how hard the tackle that’s just been made really was. All those cool, creative virtual reality ideas that have been let down by motion-sickness inducing lag? No longer a problem. Trust me – it’ll change the way we engage with and consume information in so many interesting ways!

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