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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.
The increase in new channels and technologies has dramatically changed the environment in which marketers operate. But the way in which marketing is taught, understood and operates has not really changed.
This is not sustainable. We need a new unifying framework as a reference for what marketing has become.
You may have noticed the rise in subscription services and business models – the likes of Spotify in music, Netflix in video and, of course, Dollar Shave Club in FMCG, which was recently bought by Unilever for $1bn.
On US-based My Subscription Addiction, a portal detailing available subscription services, there were 2,000 in operation as of March this year. And visits to subscription ecommerce sites have gone up 3,000% in the past three years. The average subscriber receives seven subscription packages and has at least 12 on their wish list.
On one side, we hear that digital is everything and everything is digital, so it is now a meaningless term, but this week I am coming out fighting for the other side because digital is a force that deserves distinction.
It’s a tough one. Partly because there are over 200 to choose from. Partly because I have programmed quite a few of the sessions so am biased.
But I find I have had to fire Lord Sugar from my top 10 (sorry Sir Alan), and even Monica Lewinsky does not make the cut even though I’ve heard she is a great speaker. I have also cheated by sneaking in a few “honourable mentions” without counting them in my ten.
I like to attend a mix up the more serious, authoritative, immediately useful and valuable, with the new and inspiring. So I have grouped my ten picks under a few headings: