September 12

Imagine Tom Cruise as a marketing planner

To be honest, this one is for my wife who would sack me at a moment’s notice for the charismatic Hollywood superstar known for his blockbuster movies and relentless dedication to his craft, doing his own CGI-free stunts (yeah right), and strange association with the Church of Scientology. (That last bit was me working hard […]

September 09

Imagine Pep Guardiola as a Marketing Planner

In the world of football (or soccer, as our American friends call it), Pep Guardiola is a name synonymous with innovation, strategy, and relentless pursuit of excellence. As the famed manager of Manchester City FC, Guardiola has consistently pushed the boundaries of football tactics and strategy. But what if this visionary coach were to step […]

September 08

Surfing the coming wave

In moments of quiet reflection about the future, immersed in the profound narratives delineated in “The Coming Wave” by Mustafa Suleyman, I felt a profound, but fleeting, awakening to the intricate tapestry of interconnections weaving personal growth, professional development, and the burgeoning landscape powered by artificial intelligence. Suleyman’s compelling insights prompted an immersive exploration that […]

September 01

Marketing: battling the symphony of noise

Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, to the grand spectacle that is the “symphony” of commerce – where the good ol’ marketing tunes you once knew have been given a futuristic remix, thanks to the magical rise of social media and the digital cacophony. Picture this: a masterpiece of confusion, resembling the avant-garde compositions of […]

August 22

What happened to marketing’s cool cats?

Sinek seems wasted on the overwhelmed In this dynamic age, where digital possibilities continuously transform our ways of engagement, a curious paradox emerges. Whilst technology is making bounds, certain aspects of marketing management seem entrapped in antiquated methodologies. This contradiction pushed me to revisit the teachings of visionary thinkers, especially Simon Sinek. Re-immersing myself in […]

June 01

A guilty conscience collaborates with AI

What happens when you combine the ceaseless chatter of a guilty conscience with the cold logic of artificial intelligence? After a lifetime’s experience as a copywriter, it’s a sensation that can haunt every waking moment and wind up that remorseful voice in my head that urges me to confront my misdeeds every time I poke […]

May 27

AI meets AI

Can artificial intelligence improve actual intelligence? This the first in a series of articles that aims to investigate if AI can improve the performance of professional marketers. I am not a scientist, but I have been lecturing about the growth of automation, marketing technology and the potential of AI for the past 5 years. My […]

April 12

Writer throws the book at AI

Back on GPT again and this time focusing on some big questions, based on books that question our relationship with AI: Do androids dream of electric sheep? GPT “Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” is a science fiction novel written by Philip K. Dick. The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where most animals have […]

March 31

Is there life after AI?

I used to be a futurologist for the Institute of Digital Marketing and enjoyed speculating about what was coming down the pipeline for us marketing professionals. Most so called big ideas came and went as soon as the hype budget ran out of steam, but a few have come into reality and one looks like […]

March 18

Writer runs into ChatGPT

Writer: Will AI replace writers? ChatGPT : While AI has made significant advances in generating written content, it is unlikely that it will replace writers entirely. AI-generated content can be useful for certain tasks such as generating reports or summaries, but it is still limited in its ability to create unique and creative content that […]

February 28

Put your marketing on a low carbon diet

I’ve just completed a Carbon Literacy Course and was blown away by the thought that it’s not up to someone else to save the world from carbon emissions.  The science that explains the need to reduce carbon emissions on an individual, community and global basis is irrefutable. Since the industrial revolution, the world has begun […]

June 17

Digital Marketing Skills – back to the 60s

To quote the excellent and useful Econsultancy publication (2019), Skills of the Modern Marketer, the pre-digital models we have been using since the 60s are no longer viable in the 168 hours-a-week consumer landscape. That’s why they developed the Modern Marketing Model which they claim “Fuses digital and classic marketing into one future-facing framework.” It’s […]

June 01

It’s always time for a new old school marketing model

As a marketing practitioner, I owe a great deal to all those who went before me and nailed their thoughts to the flagpole (cliche by design) at risk of getting shot down by the trolls. Those brave souls who made it through the process, end up with their name attached to a marketing model that […]

August 18

Will tech companies eventually do right by consumers?

Regulation be damned Despite the introduction of regulation in the form of The GDPR and The EU and ICO flexing their punitive muscles by handing out record fines for data protection infractions, the conduct of companies such as Cambridge Analytica, Facebook and Google has raised doubts in the minds of consumers regarding the importance product […]

July 12

The quantum marketing skills challenge.

  Most of the marketing tasks that once took highly-skilled teams weeks to accomplished can now be actioned in minutes by an individual with a smartphone. Even the most complex programmatic campaigns are triggered, delivered and dynamically optimised in milliseconds. But speed isn’t everything. While marketers make every effort to optimise business and human productivity, […]

June 12

The creative brief has lost too much mojo

99 times out of 100, the creative brief isn’t really creative enough to inform and inspire great thinking.

December 13

All we want for Christmas is an IoT party

The Internet of Things has a long way to go before it makes most people’s Christmas stocking

October 31

Most office workers unafraid of AI – lol

What could possibly go wrong? According to the World Economic Forum, an estimated five million jobs across 15 developed countries will be taken by robots by 2020. And yet, according to an article by Adobe’s Mark Greenaway (Head of Emerging Businesses, EMEA): “Most office workers view it (AI) as a positive force, with the majority […]

February 06

Client-Agency Wars – the end is nigh

As if brexit wasn’t trouble enough If client agency relationships are to survive the coming of Brexit and Automation (One will reduce budgets. The other will eliminate jobs) we need to develop empathic work practices. It will take more than profoundly considered but ponderously produced creative alchemy to keep the outsourced agency of the future […]

August 22

Un-automated marketers – clearly a primitive people

Will there be life after marketing automation? Way back in 1974, Cadbury’s Smash ran an an ad campaign featuring a group of mechanical Martian Explorers laughing their heads off at the way humans  prepare potatoes for consumption. In March 2016, The Drum invited a panel of ten marketers to reimagine the campaign in a contemporary context. […]

April 13

How I long to be more like you Marketing Automation bot – I think

is your boss a bit botty? In my early career the thought of coming to work to knock out yet another knockout brand ad campaign for a client… made sleeping over in the agency seem worth it. Now, at the age of 59, hardly a day goes by when I feel there is more to working […]

March 19

In love with Customer Experience

Is there more to life than sales? The following is an extended response to an article I published as part of the TFM&A Board of Experts. The article has some excellent contributions from leaders in the digital marketing field. This update, provides a more complete response to questions posed than is possible in the article. 1: […]

letter-christmas-decoration-7287329 December 03

The 12 A’s of Christmas

Santa has been busy thinking about what you want for Christmas My early Christmas gift to one and all readers is my definitive A-Z list (with a twist ) of marketing in the digital age… the twist is that they all begin with the letter A. There’s optimisation for you. Analysis Keeping in touch with the […]

Jon-Snow-in-Snow Jam Cyborg November 03

Winter is coming Don Draper

Are clients cooling their interest in agencies? In July 2006, Unilever started giving the cold shoulder (sorry) to the agency world when it cut its UK marketing and digital agency roster from 20 to 7 shops. At the same time, Unilver quietly announced a review of its global digital roster. Among those agencies who survived the cull were: Agency […]

hitchcock amazon drone October 03

The ABC of OVP (Online Value Proposition)

As Leonardo DaVinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” So my as-simple-as-it-gets take on developing a powerful OVP (Online Value Proposition) is… “Be more useful than useless.” The process is as follows: A. Assess what customers find most useful B. Be especially mindful of things that remain useful over time C. Commit to remaining demonstrably more useful than […]


The agency model is breaking bad

All good things come to an end Advertising, direct marketing and digital agencies have played a pivotal role in turning marketing into a $600 billion a year industry. The memorable ads, mailshots and digital campaigns have done more than simply help advertisers to create brands, sell products and develop ongoing relationships with customers, they have […]

irobot for marketing automatoin May 13

To err is human, ergo marketing automation

Is human frailty costing business business? As carbon-based life forms, we are prone to making small mistakes which can have big consequences for our businesses. According to a report referenced by Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, the NHS could afford to hire 60,000 more nurses if staff cut out basic mistakes which are costing £2.5bn a year. It […]

cyborgg-running-man April 16

Get agile or get left behind

On February 11-13, 2001, at The Lodge at Snowbird ski resort in the Wasatch mountains of Utah, seventeen software developers got together to, as they put it: “Talk, ski, relax, and try to find common ground.” What they produced and signed up to was The Agile Manifesto: a 12-point commitment to optimising the development of software […]

CYBORGg thinker March 27

Marketing automation prepare to be out-thought

Tempus fugit for the mortal marketer Time, the most precious commodity ever conceived by man, marches relentlessly towards the future without so much as a passing thought for marketer or consumer. It is an unavoidably finite resource that needs to become the central focal point for every product or service hoping to survive in an age of […]

Cyborg marketing automation March 07

Let’s humanise marketing automation

Marketing Automation is not an extinction level event for marketers There is a growing belief among computer scientists that machines will soon reach the condition of “artificial general intelligence” and match humans in their intellectual capacity. The Future of Life Institute in the US and the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at Cambridge university, among other […]

Rise of the micro marketing machine February 03

The RISE of the micro marketing machine

The past makes me confused about the future of marketing The Bellwether report for January 2015, found that the “fragile nature of the economy has knocked the confidence of marketers and forced many to adopt “cost-efficient” online strategies to reign in their advertising spend.” It then went on to state that, “Despite the slowdown in advertising spend in […]

Digital Mission, Video, JP Sears, December 21

Zen and the art of motivation maintenance

Your feet are up but the mind is still at work. If like me you are looking forward to the Christmas Break but have been insanely busy and a have a head so full of ideas about the next evolution in digital marketing that you have no idea how we got here, this is my Christmas present for you. […]

Dave Lewis: once of Unilever, now of Tesco December 16

Customer-Centricity – are you listening Tesco?

Time to get back to basics. Phase 1: Get management off their arses. Welcome to the world of Dangerous Dave Lewis, the new CEO of Tesco. A boss who must put the wind up managers by making them get back to the shop floor on a regular basis. Change Management in the real world is much […]

Sir Martin Sorrell thinking about the future December 16

Laughing time is almost over for the agency as we know it

In two minds about the future of advertising and marketing Sir Martin Sorrel himself admits if he was starting out again he wouldn’t build the kind of mega agency he runs today. He is busy looking towards China, digital and customer insight to maintain momentum while wondering, like the rest of us, is there a better […]

amazon Jeff Bezos December 06

Failure must always be an option

Amazon’s A to Z of successful failure. Unlike most business leaders, Jeff Bezos has no problem admitting that he has lost billions of dollars on failed experiments. As anyone involved in innovation knows, thinking up new ideas is easy. Sorting out the good from the bad is the difficult bit. Bezos claims that embracing failure is an important part of […]

Advertising Agency CEO November 22

Tsar Wars – the Empire fights back

I wrote a detailed article back in March of this year that followed up on a lecture I delivered to a mix of very senior directors and relatively new digital recruits at one of the world’s largest advertising agencies. My theme was the future of digital marketing. The learning outcome was that clients will soon be […]

Kenco coffee v gangs October 26

Ganging up on gangs in the coffee business

Go ahead make my day Kenco I’ve been looking for a campaign to support last November’s post; The World belongs to Creative Thinkers: an article inspired by Philip Kotler’s book, Marketing 3.0 in which he urges us to make marketing a force for long-term good and not just short-term sales. For me, the approach that […]

Facebook virtual reality July 18

Oculus Rift my online experience

Mark Zuckerberg made a very interesting statement about the company Facebook has recently acquired for $2 billion. “They build virtual reality technology, like the Oculus Rift headset. When you put it on, you enter a completely immersive computer-generated environment, like a game or a movie scene or a place far away. The incredible thing about […]

Nest-Thermostat July 17

Nest on its way to your home and beyond

Big Brother’s toe in the door or the start of bringing Amazon-style customer service into our everyday lives? I am firmly in Nest’s corner on this one. The idea of my home and many of the objects in it anticipating my every need, want and desire is going to be good for our lives and […]

digital finger print July 15

Time for direct marketing to get in touch with reality

Sensory marketing makes sense There is one thing that direct mail can do that no other channel can: activate all five of your senses. Touch. Taste. Smell. Vision. Hearing. All can be stimulated at the same time. Clients with the right kinds of products (exotic perfumes, confections and holidays for example), need to invest more in creating greater […]

July 14

Wherever you go, there you are – together with contextual marketing.

Time for marketing to stop living in the past… and the future for that matter. Living in the present moment is essential to a happy life according to Buddhist practitioners of mindfulness. It helps us to eliminate ego-centric concerns about the past and speculative fretting about the future from our lives.  In the present moment, we can create […]

June 25

Security Researchers Uncover The Tools Governments Use To Spy On Our Phones

Don’t say I didn’t warn you… banking on your mobile phone, not for me

shedding light on the customer journey March 14

Optimise every moment – shedding light on the customer journey

It’s getting more difficult to defend yourself form the competition As we move deeper into the age of the constantly connected customer, mapping the customer journey against the tried and tested buyer behaviour model has become increasingly desirable and difficult in equal measure. As the number of touchpoints expands, so too does the degree of […]

artificial-intelligence marketing automation March 09

Shift attacks Salesforce, Adobe with ‘open marketing cloud,’ an app store for digital marketing tools

If this works, it is going to be huge

the dark lord of agency wars March 08

Tsar Wars – big agency v plucky client

The battle for control between agencies and clients draws near In a galaxy not far, far away: Brand Activation, Content Marketing, Automation, Accountability and Client Training are about to do battle on an epic scale for control of the marketing and communication industry. The shape of the relationship between clients and agencies is about to undergo […]

TNT viral drama ad February 10

A viral campaign that really pushes my button

You are walking down the street when you spot a big red button sitting in the middle of the square where nothing ever happens. You walk over and in a fit of idle curiosity you push the button. What follows is nothing short of mind-blowing… What this viral ad proves is that the TV station […]

Mob-facebook-angry-birds-meets-madmen-square February 10

Angry Birds meets Mad Men – in a polymathic nutshell of useful agile responsivness

Angry Birds meets Mad Men – it’s the new me but a lot more useful than I used to be. After 34 years in brand, direct and digital marketing I am unashamedly addicted to all things digital, demonstrably media-neutral, obsessively customer-centric, passionate about lecturing and ready with a collection of brand agency stories that would […]

robot in art gallery February 07

Remote Controlled Robots To Roam Tate Britain Gallery After Hours So Web Users Can Peek At The Art

Can they do it in the National Portrait Gallery – seeing the faces in a new light will be amazing

Doritos ad February 07

Oooh nasty Doritos crowdsourcing ideas and laughs

deep mind machine intelligence February 07

Why did Google dig deep into its pockets to buy DeepMind?

Will DeepMind terminate poor display advertising? The merger of digital and physical worlds appears to have drawn a little closer when Google bought into the the UK start-up DeepMind, a cutting-edge artificial intelligence company founded by 37-year-old neuroscientist Demis Hassabis and fellow scientists, Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman. DeepMind was founded to combine the best techniques from machine […]