In case you’ve missed the tweets, posters and press releases, I’d like to draw your attention to the fact the Leeds Digital Conference is almost upon us. The celebration of this fair city’s multitude of online talent and ideas is taking place on October 12th and in the coming days I’ll be busy shining my shoes and polishing my calculator ready for my appearance. I’ll be taking to the stage to encourage the digital community to embrace data and the many wonderful possibilities it presents for our industry. With the conference just around the corner, I’ve been asked to provide answers to a few questions in order to give you an idea about who I am, what my role is and what I think about digital in Leeds.
Who are you? What’s your job and how many years have you been in Leeds?
I’m Peter Laflin, Head of Data Insight at Bloom Agency. I’m a mathematician by training and have spent over ten years helping others get excited by data and the insight it provides. I’ve been in Leeds for six years, having started my career on the other side of the Pennines.
What is it about Leeds that makes it unique from the rest of the country in terms of Digital? What is it that we traditionally do better than the rest of the country?
In the past we’ve had to shout louder about what we do to attract the clients we deserve, so we are also adept at moving things forwards. We’ve had to make our ideas and talent to stand out and I think now we are seeing Leeds agencies really come into their own as a result. Backing isn’t just coming from clients, it’s also coming from different sectors entirely, including the world of academia. I’d cite Bloom’s recent link up with the Universities of Reading and Strathclyde as an example.
Why should a potential client pick an agency from Leeds?
The question really should be: if they haven’t already been looking at Leeds agencies, why not? If you look back to ten years ago, a lack of technology led some brands to restrict their agency search to their locality. The whole nature of the industry has now changed almost beyond recognition: it doesn’t matter where your agency is based, it matters where they can take your brand. Technology and tools mean these old considerations no longer need to factor and with Leeds breeding some of the best creative talent and innovation, it’s hard not to notice the city’s agencies.
What will you be speaking about at this year’s Leeds Digital Conference?
I’ll primarily be speaking about my first love: Data. I’ll be talking about how important it is that our industry starts to understand how big data can be used to help brands learn more about their customers and the opportunities which might come their way in the future. In particular, I’ll be focussing on how Bloom has been using social data to help clients analyse real time web conversations and also touching on how my academic research turned up some interesting results.
Predictions for the Digital Industry in 2013? What should be top of the agenda at the conference?
As far as I’m concerned Big Data will be making a big impact in 2013. Of course, it already is, but it’s in the coming months that we are going to see those embracing data shaping the marketing industry and clients success. The different touch points associated with Big Data – such as online PR and SSE are also topics close to my heart and areas ripe for development. The key for me is that Big Data is only an issue because we don’t have the tools to help us make sense of the vast quantities of data we are all producing. A step change in technology will help us answer more questions for more brands in real time and some of that innovation will be borne in Leeds.
So- there we have it! That’s me! There are still some tickets left for Leeds Digital Conference, which I’m told you can purchase here.