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Author: 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.
As marketers we are clearly interested in who our customers are. We care about who owns, and has control over, our customer data. The rise of digital channels offers new opportunities to capture customer data and, indeed, different kinds of data such as behavioural, or social, signals.
But there is a battle for identity, and customer data, already under way that looks set to escalate. As the gods of the internet tear the firmament asunder we must consider the implications for us mere marketing mortals.
One of the characteristics of the modern marketer outlined in our recent Modern Marketing Manifesto is agility. The ability to be responsive and adaptive. To be flexible and embrace change.
The concept of agile marketing has grown from the need to try and deal with a more fluid marketing environment, driven largely by digital, and has borrowed from the principles of agile software development.
The latter values “individuals and interactions over processes and tools; working software over comprehensive documentation; customer collaboration over contract negotiation; responding to change over following a plan”.
There are two big questions about marketing as a discipline at the moment. Firstly, is it becoming more, or less, important within organisations?
Secondly, has digital completely changed what marketing is or has it fundamentally remained the same?
As you might expect we at Centaur, under the Marketing Week and Econsultancy brands, champion the cause of marketing, and marketers, globally. We believe the value of marketing is, rightly, in the ascendancy.
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.
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.
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.
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.