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the blog to accompany digitalorchestra.ae

The era of mass marketing is now truly over

June8-2016.001With the second quarter nearly over, it must be time to start to make predictions for 2017. Why?

Because everyone is still “uncertain” about 2016 and “bullish” about 2017 in the “run up to 2020”.

Rather than debate the oil price, regional turmoil and subsequent market fluctuations, one thing is for sure — 2016 isn’t as buoyant a market as many had hoped.

And budgets are being cut. Sure, it’s not 2008 all over again. But let me repeat budgets are being cut. And when that happens every dollar spent needs to be scrutinised even more than before.

Which is why by the end of 2016, there will be no more mass marketing.

Wooing niche audiences is everything. Do you remember Chris Anderson’s 2006 book, The Long Tail. In this oft-quoted tome, he spoke of Amazon’s ability to sell obscure books to obscure people while the high-street retailers only have space to sell the mainstream units. And this is now being adopted across all industries.

I was at the Step Conference in Dubai the other day. Startups and venture capitalists, mainly. And when you look at all the startups, each one of them solves a very singular problem for a niche audience.

A niche audience that will be big soon. Or so their business plan will assure you.

There’s no other reason to set up a business. It has to solve a problem. We set up Blue Logic to help businesses harness their data and add content that collects eyeballs. Monitor what the audience is doing and give them more of what they want. And monetise. Simple, right?

I met at the Step conference a startup called My-Sign.com, a new Continue reading “The era of mass marketing is now truly over”

“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”

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?”

When asked on radio, “how does advertising work?” how would you answer?

Not an easy one to answer, or is it?

If you have fifteen mins, please have a listen and let me know if you agree with how I answered it the other day on the Industry Insider segment of DriveLiveDXB show on Dubaieye103.8.

Yes, this is a podcast with Tim Elliott (@dubaitim) and Alex Hirschi (@radiohirschi), where the opening question sets the tone of the discussion: “how does advertising work?”

https://soundcloud.com/jamwel/industryinsider-dubaieye1038-feb2016

Continue reading “When asked on radio, “how does advertising work?” how would you answer?”

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.”

Advertising for the chairman’s wife

This where I write a piece in Campaign Magazine about waste in advertising and how targeting niche audiences on billboards is nuts.

advertising for the chairmans wifeShe’s an important stakeholder. We may have never met her. But she’s the one that the marketing department knows is vital to any campaign’s internal success. And the ad agency also makes certain that she’ll readily find appeal in the latest advertising campaign. Often, the media agency will be told to buy the billboard on the main road near her house. Or on her route to work. Or the masthead on her favorite news site. Bought for a month at a time, when available. The point here is that it’s using mass media for niche targeting: that’s advertising for the chairman’s wife. And that’s an age-old phenomenon which is no longer necessary in such expensive volumes.

We all know there is so much media budget being wasted. Every marketer and creative agency has heard a story about their friend’s media agency churning out the same media plan, year-in, year-out, oblivious to client category or objectives. I’m sure it’s not your agency, but the one next door, right?

This presents a clear opportunity, to minimise waste. Continue reading “Advertising for the chairman’s wife”

ADVERTISING IS DEAD… AGAIN.

ADVERTISING DEAD 1…or is adblocking not the end after all?

Advertising is getting a lot of stick again these days. For one fundamental reason: advertisers have by-and-large forgotten to engage, entertain and enthuse their target audiences. And therefore many people are frustrated with advertising and turning it off wherever they can. This is why adblocking came about.

Adblocking comes in two forms: First, where people turn on the Private Browsing, Incognito or Do Not Track (DNT) button in their web browser. This stops advertisers putting a cookie onto a computer so that the advertising that person sees is now random not tailored to the user. The other form of adblocking is to stop all advertising completely. Currently adblocking is mainly on Google Chrome and on Firefox, but Apple’s IOS9 Continue reading “ADVERTISING IS DEAD… AGAIN.”

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