Where creativity meets commerce: Zipcar and ASOS at The Marketing Society Conference 2013

Joseph Clift

The role of the marketing function within the broader organisation is a much-discussed topic at industry events. And The Marketing Society Conference, organised by the UK trade body and held in London in November 2013, was no exception. As Ian Pearman – the chief executive of advertising agency AMV BBDO – put it: "We want to know the systems whereby businesses create creativity."

Marketers are often encouraged to think and act more like entrepreneurs, and then given few meaningful guidelines describing how to do so. However, several speakers on the day offered delegates constructive advice about achieving this goal, and driving business growth as a result.

Zipcar powers ahead

A major example of this came from Zipcar, the membership-based car rental service which is accessed via the web and mobile. The company’s formation was guided by broad shifts in society: the global urban population is predicted to grow by 30% over the next 20 years, meaning the proportion of city-dwellers worldwide should move decisively above 50%. But this trend puts the existing public transport infrastructure under pressure, and makes owning a car less practical.