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Author: Ashley Friedlein

Ashley Friedlein

I started out working in digital TV and multimedia production. I then worked at the Financial Times on arguably the first commercial application of Video on Demand (1996) before getting involved with FT.com as a Producer / Project Manager.

In 1997 I moved to digital communications agency Wheel as the third person in the then 'internet team'. I went through the dotcom boom, seeing Wheel grow from 30 people to 450 in just 3 years, and was involved in launching sites for M&S, Abbey National, IPC Magazines, Autoglass, Channel 5, AMP etc.

Following the dotcom crash (which saw Wheel shrink back to a more modest 90 or so staff) I left and spent a very pleasant sabbatical year writing my second book in the South of France. I then returned to the UK and from June 2002 I have been running Econsultancy full time.

How far should programmatic marketing go?

There is a rise in 'machine marketing' underway. This is most evident in digital marketing, where algorithms and automation can help create efficiencies across campaigns.

But how far should marketers rely on programmatic marketing as part of the mix?


17 digital marketing and ecommerce trends for 2013 by Econsultancy CEO Ashley Friedlein

Following are my personal thoughts on what will be interesting and important in the world of digital marketing and ecommerce for 2013. As is traditional for my trends, there are around seventeen of them.

I haven’t spent too much time on giving extensive justification for any of these; they are based largely on the many conversations I have with industry influencers and practitioners.

Many are really just notes, or bullet points, but I’ve tried to give links to further information if you want to delve deeper. They are in no particular order though I’ve started with the more ‘strategic’ stuff.

As ever, I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts, or feel free to post a link to your own trends or predictions. 


The four Ps of Personalisation

One to one marketing is back. And this time it’s personal.

There is nothing new about the concept of personalisation. Peppers and Rogers popularised “one to one marketing” in the dotcom heyday and personalisation platforms were very much in vogue.

As companies wrestled with the subsequent crash, and the dawning reality that actually they had a long way to go in sorting out basic usability before they started on more advanced targeting and customisation, personalisation went quiet. 


How do you create a marketing function fit for the future?

This was the question a newly-appointed CMO asked me recently. It’s a tough question. Almost as tough as the “What does good look like?” question we get asked all the time in the realm of digital marketing and ecommerce where reliable benchmarks or accepted best practice are hard to come by. 

The challenges and opportunities around the future of the marketing function are well known. Dealing with ‘big’ data and analytics, figuring out how social media fits in, integrated online and offline marketing, delivering a seamless customer experience across channels, working more closely with “IT”, moving from broadcast to dialogue, globalisation, innovation, personalisation, more agility, attracting and keeping the right talent. 

But how do you create a marketing function best placed to embrace these challenges and opportunities?  As ever, the answer is “it depends”. But rather than end with that consulting cop out, I wanted to draw out some of the insights we believe we at Econsultancy have observed. 


Should CMOs aspire to be CXOs?

That's CXO as in "Chief Experience Officer" though perhaps more often called Chief Customer Officer.

A quick check on LinkedIn shows very few CXOs outside of agencies though many more Chief Customer Officers.

But job title semantics aside, the key theme is 'customer experience'. Is it overhyped? Or is it the future of marketing?


China: a special report on digital marketing and e-commerce

What is the state of digital marketing and e-commerce in China? 

I'm just back from a week long trip to Shanghai where I talked to a lot of people in the digital industry there. Following are some of my observations about how the digital marketing landscape in China compares to the West. 


Which of your digital marketing channels assist most in conversions?

Attribution modelling, multi-channel funnels, customer journey mapping... it's all very hot at the moment.

As part of my preparation for a talk I'm giving this Wednesday I had a look at Econsultancy.com's own data for how different digital marketing channels contributed to conversions.

I was interested by what I found so wanted to share it here to see what others are learning. 


Econsultancy’s solution to EU e-Privacy Directive compliance

EU privacy directiveThere has been a huge amount of interest within the Econsultancy community around the EU e-Privacy Directive, sometimes rather misleadingly referred to as the ‘EU Cookie Law’ (as it doesn’t just apply to cookies). This is not surprising as the deadline for compliance with the directive in the UK is May 26th so less than two months away. 

People have been asking "So what is Econsultancy going to do on its site?", and "What do you think is best practice?", and "Will Econsultancy.com be compliant?". Today we have set live our ‘solution’. 

(UPDATE, 18 April 2012: Our new report, The EU Cookie Law: A Guide to Compliance, explains the legislation as far as it affects UK online businesses, sets out some practical steps that you can take towards compliance, and includes examples of how websites can gain users’ consent for setting cookies. Do check it out.)


Cookie compliance: Econsultancy analyses the latest ICO guidance

I’ve been on record a number of times saying that I think the EC Directives relating to cookies are fundamentally flawed. We could make a parallel with the current UK/EU Euro ‘situation’ but let’s not go there. In the UK the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has a duty to enforce these directives and, as they say, “This isn’t going away. It’s the law.”

Yesterday the ICO released its updated guidance for UK website owners. You can download the PDF from the link in the news release. 

Given the tough task of interpretation, guidance and enforcement that is the ICO’s duty, I have to say that I think this document is a valiant and comprehensive effort given the task and I’d commend them for this. I would urge you to read it for the full details. It is clearly written and quite practical.

Below are some of my initial thoughts on reading this latest guidance.

Future of Digital Marketing

“Brand Everywhere” – the next big thing in digital marketing?

At Econsultancy’s 2010 ‘Future of Digital Marketing’ conference the main emerging theme was ‘Data is the new oil’. At the 2011 conference, held two days ago in London, for me the main theme is what I’m calling “Brand Everywhere”. 


17 digital marketing trends for 2011, by Econsultancy CEO Ashley Friedlein

Following are my personal views on what will be interesting and important in the world of digital marketing and e-commerce for 2011. 

I haven’t given extensive justification for any of these. It’s just what I feel to be likely from my many conversations with industry influencers.

I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts, or feel free to post a link to your own predictions.  


What are we to make of The Times paywall figures?

Yesterday News International announced that “the new digital products for The Times and The Sunday Times have achieved more than 105,000 paid-for customer sales to date." So are these figures good or not? Should other media companies be encouraged by these initial results from Rupert’s great experiment?

I’ve frequently been on record in the past, including on Channel 4 News, saying that I didn’t think Murdoch’s paywall plans were the right way forwards. So should I now be eating humble pie, given that the data and results are now public?