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“Moments of Serendipity” at an Uncomfortable Breakfast

TMSME_brekkieFurther to my piece published recently in Gulf News (see last blog post), here’s an update to the content at that event.

The Marketing Society Middle East sat down for it’s third “Uncomfortable Breakfast” to discuss the hot topic of data. You may ask why we call it such an off-putting name, “Uncomfortable Breakfast”.

It is, of course, a delicious breakfast held at an enviable establishment here in Dubai – such as the fabulous space we’ve been using for the past couple of events, the Armani Hotel.

The “uncomfortable” element is to find a topic that the marketing community knows is important but may not, en masse, discuss in an open forum regularly enough. For this reason there are no journalists present!

This forum brought together forty senior marketers with regional and local remits, and all came to hear more about the story behind data.

Today that’s the problem; we’re talking about data itself and not about the stories it can provide. Taking the latter approach, storytelling, Marilies Rumpold-Preining of IBM Commerce gave us some interesting insights: Continue reading ““Moments of Serendipity” at an Uncomfortable Breakfast”

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Too much of an onus on big data?

 

Onus on data.png
This article was first published in Gulf News, Wed 9th March 2016

Last month I had the delight to be leading the Q&A at a gathering of 40 chief marketing officers and other big title-holders in Dubai. The premise for the gathering was an “uncomfortable breakfast”.

Now, if you’ve had breakfast at the Armani Hotel at the Burj Khalifa, it’s far from uncomfortable. But the topic was data-driven marketing. And that is pretty uncomfortable, especially since some of those present would have openly admitted they “know nothing” about data.

You see, that’s the problem: data is often unfairly awarded the epithet ‘big’.

It’s true that there is a lot of different sets of data in big business today. A company carries lots of data points that are easy to understand and use.

Sales data, web analytics, social media analytics, email databases, competitive research… and each of these sets tells a story. And the business analyses the story from a single data set, derives some insights and has a good idea how to do things differently.

Hopefully all companies can learn to conduct business differently over time. Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein have all been attributed the adage, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.” Continue reading “Too much of an onus on big data?”

The global reach of the small idea

This article first appeared in the Media Buzz column, GULF NEWS, 23 December 2015.JW_gulfnews_dec2015_v2

Across the UAE, one in three people uses their smartphone to buy products and services. That’s more than in many other countries.

As readers of this business section, what are we doing with this information? Actually, we’re doing well, we’re bringing our products and services online, onto the mobile web and producing great apps from which we can purchase said products and services.

We know that our audiences research online and are starting to buy more and more regularly online.

The UAE business community is providing its online consumers with banking, grocery shopping, the latest fashions, perfumes and consumer electronics. And if these consumers look hard enough they can find plenty of local garden furniture, barbeques and gazebos too.

Local offerings, when really sought after, can be found online.

But before we pat ourselves on the back too enthusiastically, we need to take a step back and realise that we’re building these beautiful, functional castles in the desert without taking as much care and attention to building the roads and signposts needed to find these castles.

Build it and they will come?

The ‘build it and they will come’ approach doesn’t work Continue reading “The global reach of the small idea”

2015 in review: change is coming in all directions

JW_GulfNews_Nov2015This article first appeared in GULF NEWS, 17 November 2015.

The recent news reports have not been pretty for those in advertising or media: marketers are demanding unprecedented transparency from their agencies and consumers are trying to turn off advertising.

It is time for change, but what does change look like?

Budgets are being slashed. For example, P&G, the world’s biggest advertiser, last month announced its quest to reduce expenditure on advertising by $200 million (Dh734.63). “We are strengthening marketing — greater reach, higher frequency, greater effectiveness, at less overall cost,” the CFO Jon Moeller announced. Savings would be used, he continued, “to invest in working media and sampling”.

Agencies are finding that even digital spends are not forthcoming. For example, the Publicis Groupe announced poor Q3 results, with CEO Maurice Levy declaring, “September showed zero growth due to numerous campaigns being postponed, mainly in digital operations. The level of cuts are surprisingly high and coming from many different advertisers from packaged goods, automotive and pharma.”

Marketers are all putting their media buying up for pitch. WPP, the world’s biggest agency group, Continue reading “2015 in review: change is coming in all directions”

Adman: are you bored in your job? BBH shows the answer: get a TIE.

tie newsletter 1Adland is a fickle place. Employees don’t hang about. But there’s a way to fix this. A TIE. Yes, TIE (The International Exchange) has the answer.

Stats tell us that marketing directors are in their roles for 18-36 months – just long enough to make an impression. Or not as the case may be. And ad-men and women last about the same in any given role. Or less.

As team members, why do we stay?

The only reason to stay in any job is to make sure that the employment pie-chart is in fair-or-maybe-equal parts: earning, learning and fun. And if the parts move to much, it’s time to renegotiate and/or move on.

As employers, how do we keep the team?

While it should be noted that no manager needs a retention tool for the mediocre, we all need ways to supercharge those with true potential. In adland, there’s a tried and tested model to reinvigorate team players. The International Exchange does just the thing. Continue reading “Adman: are you bored in your job? BBH shows the answer: get a TIE.”

Measuring success and performance in advertising

How do most digital advertisers measure success? Through data analysis, of course.

But, not enough advertisers have access to their own digital data in a usable way.

Such a pity.

It’s not about big data, it’s about sourcing usable data.

A recent report about financial advertisers using digital channels has been published. It is worth a read. (Contact details at the bottom of this article.)

The report is based upon data captured through a data management platform across seven brands and five months.

It shows what brands can do, and should do, leveraging their own (and owned) first-party data.

I urge you to have a look at this table and think about it. It sums up success in digital lead generation a.k.a. performance advertising.

With a data management platform, Continue reading “Measuring success and performance in advertising”

Six Significant Changes in Advertising for 2015

As the new year approaches everyone is wondering what will really happen in 2015. And only a few of us really know!

I’ll happily share with you a few points – and I’ll frame it as seven significant changes in our vocabulary because they just won’t need explaining any longer:

  • CROSS-SCREEN

    Second-screening. Wish I'd had this when at the Dubai Rugby Sevens yesterday!
    Second-screening. Imagine if I’d had this app on my phone when at the Dubai Rugby Sevens yesterday. Imagine if the data providers could tell what billboards were near me and play relevant data-targeted ads with reference to the environment, the outdoor billboards, the big TV screens etc…

advertisers will reach a point in May (why May? That’s another story!) where they no longer need to refer to “cross-screen” advertising. Why? Because everything will just work across all screens. ALL screens. And we’ll even be able to track advertising across all screens and all operating systems in a way that only Facebook, Google and Apple can today – albeit only across their operating systems at the time of writing.

  • DIGITAL FIRST

“digital first” will be an expression of the past. It’ll just be what we all think and do. Instead we’ll remember at the last minute before submitting any advertising proposal “what about TV and billboards?” Okay, maybe TV and billboards won’t be forgotten like that. But still, maybe it’s time for the 2005 prophecy by Joe Jaffe to come to life: Today, some 65 years after it was first used, the 30-second spot is like Sean Connery – still sexy as hell but not much of a long-term prospect.” Continue reading “Six Significant Changes in Advertising for 2015”

So Long, Singapore

So Long, Singapore!

Wow, the last two years have been exciting. But it’s time to say, so long, Singapore.

MBA vs real-world learning

In December 2011, I told some old friends that I was about to do an MBA in Australia – where I lived at the time – at an unheard of business school. They explained to me that it was too little too late: “You’re supposed to be turning 30 not pushing 40; you’re supposed to do it at a famous school with cool people, not a cheap school with average people.” Fair cop. They asked me why I was keen to get a Master’s in Business Administration anyway and I explained I wanted to use it to work out what’s next. “That’s an expensive way to procrastinate,” said one of said friends. Harsh, but fair.

So, three months later, I feigned a family holiday and instead booked a solo trip to Singapore. I met 35 people in seven days. And asked each person to introduce me to one more person, if they could.

Mumbrella, June 2012
Mumbrella, June 2012

One of those ‘one-more-people’ was the guy at WPP’s “other trading desk” the Media Innovation Group. The digital media tech company on the bleeding edge of digital whose tools were used by GroupM. And this bloke decided I was the man for the role to bring his business to life across Asia Pacific.

Soon enough it was announced in the press (thank you, mumbrella) that I would be moving on to embark upon some “real-world learning” to launch WPP’s Media Innovation Group across Asia Pacific.

Data, creativity and real-time bidding

The business at the Media Innovation Group was technical. And naturally, full of three letter abbreviations. The Media Innovation Group (MIG) was a real-time bidding (RTB) media buying shop – sometimes called a trading desk – with a state-of-the-art data management platform (DMP). Since those ‘early days’, everyone has started talking more about “programmatic”. But if anyone uses such language with you, ask them to explain themselves. Most can but many can’t! The tech-heads think media is all about tech. It’s not, it’s about results, of course.

Continue reading “So Long, Singapore”

Yes, we ALL should be mocking generic advertising

Dissolve is a library of stock footage for video.

They saw this piece by Kendra Eash on Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency site.

And made it into a film. (HatTip Mumbrella.asia)

 

What a gem.

Another way to mock generic advertising was taken by David Mitchell in 2009.

I’ve used this film in presentations Continue reading “Yes, we ALL should be mocking generic advertising”

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