Category Archives: Thought Leadership

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 […]

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.

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 […]

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 […]

BREAKING-BAD May 23

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

February 06

Google digs deep into its pockets to buy DeepMind

Crowd sourcing visual February 06

Hands up all those who think the age of crowdsourcing is at hand?

Tapping up the endless funding resource E pluribus Unum (from the many, one) is the motto of the United States of America. How appropriate then that a couple of American editors for Wired Magazine, Jeff Howe and Mark Robinson, should be the first to conjure up the now familiar phrase ‘crowdsourcing’ way back in 2005. […]

self-confidence January 29

It’s time to take sides in the fight against wasted digital spend.

It’s hard to be confident when you are not sure what you are doing A recent survey by Adobe highlighted the fact that only 48% of the professionals working in marketing had any confidence in their ability to: A. Reach the right audience – too many options? B. Reach the audience efficiently – too much […]

January 17

Great creative meets customer service meets content meets shock and awesome

It’s a minor miracle. Mind blowing creativity that took the whole business and a plane load of customers to deliver the big idea. Right up there with Avis We try Harder in my books. I read a covering article in which the marketing pundit asked, “It’s all very well, but will it sell seats?” You […]

contact lens ar January 13

Looking for the constantly lost and found consumer

They’re out there somewhere. Whatever the consumer journey, there are only two points of easily understood significance: the moment they first register on our radar and the moment they actually take action to close the deal. The interval between can be measured in Nano-seconds or take years. (I have a client that works on prospects […]

January 10

Semi-sentient avatars and my optimised digital marketing fantasy.

Life will never be the same. I miss the visionary novels of the one and only Ian M Banks. His mind-blowing Culture novels make me feel pessimistic and optimistic in equal measure. While artificial intelligence seems to have peaked at robot soccer tournaments; data, search, social and mobile stand on the verge of morphing into […]

January 08

Even the longest journey starts with a single leap into the unknown

Falling for brand advertising. I started out over 30 years ago in brand advertising creating  TV, press, poster and radio campaigns in the age of mass marketing, when the madmen of Madison Avenue arrived in London. (The concept was everything and the needs, wants and desires of the target audience were of little consequence.) Relating […]

January 07

Cutting the Big Data house of cards down to size

The Big Data equals big capital expenditure lobby has had marketing journalists reaching for ever more hyperbolic factoids about data. A couple of my favourite examples are: “90% of the data in the world was produced in the last two years” (OMG!) and, “More than 2 billion videos were watched online in the last 24 […]

Start anything you want with an RFID chip January 06

Strongbow has the bottle to use an RFID chip

In think Strongbow’s Earn it Campaign is great – I wish I had the bottle for the Stand Up Challenge – but this idea to use the bottle cap to trigger events in their new “Starter’ campaign that is rolling out across Europe is a great example of the way the physical and digital worlds […]

December 30

It’s time for Digital to become the marketing thought leader

Digital is beginning to take centre stage in the advertising and marketing process. Where brand advertising creates awareness, digital shapes preference and conversion. Where direct marketing builds customer relationships, digital expedites the process in real time. Resistance from the vested interests of channel-focused silos will soon be swept away by customer preference for the sheer utility […]

November 15

The 3.0 world belongs to creative thinkers

Make the world a better place – with marketing – seriously? In 2010, the marketing legend Philip Kotler, together with Herman Kartajaya and Iwan Sitiawan collaborated on the publication of Marketing 3.0. This thought-provoking book explores the transition of marketing from product-based (1.0) through the current consumer-based focus (2.0) and into an age of collaborative […]