Comprehensive technological advances and social media have permanently altered the nature of marketing as a whole, a sentiment Guardian contributor David Benady noted prior to a panel discussion in front of industry executives. “Real-time conversations brands have with people as they interact with websites and mobile apps has changed the nature of marketing,” Benady noted. “The modern-day marketing department needs to combine the creative side of the discipline – using powerful narratives to tap into people’s wishes and aspirations – with the technical side of data, digital engineering and analytics.” The potential reach of an advertising campaign has also expanded. Facebook, YouTube, online news, and apps on smartphones and tablets now allow strong ideas to quickly spread and influence in the span of a single moment. “If you come up with that nugget of an idea, you’ve now got such reach that you can expand that and get tremendous coverage just from a little niche idea,” explained Mark Singleton, head of marketing at betting brand Paddy Power.