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.

What is digital transformation? [video]

My brother Joe asked to interview me about digital transformation for his 'Digital Brew' series. The guests get to choose between tea/coffee or beer. I went with beer. 

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Ashley Friedlein's marketing and digital trends for 2017

Every year I pick out digital and marketing trends and developments which I think will shape the industry and digital/marketing planning and thinking in the year ahead. 

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What can marketers learn from SaaS (software-as-a-service) businesses?

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.

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12 seminal reads on why digital *is* different

The great debate about ‘digital’ rumbles on.

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.

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It is the end of the beginning for digital. But is it the beginning of the end?

Ah, the death of digital... More than two years ago I wrote about the many ‘deaths’ of digital marketing and it felt like a tired topic then.

But still this is a hot topic, even if it has often morphed into full blown ‘digital transformation’.

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Will conversational marketing become a reality in 2016?

Clearly it is not new to think of marketing as conversations

In the Cluetrain Manifesto of 1999 Doc Searls and David Weinberger remind us that markets are conversations.

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Ashley Friedlein’s 10 digital marketing & ecommerce trends for 2016

Each year I select digital trends and developments which I believe will shape the industry and digital marketing planning and thinking.

These are a personal selection, so are somewhat esoteric and likely skewed to those which most interest me.

And each year there seem to be a different number. 

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Chief Customer Officers (CCOs): A fad or the future?

In my previous article I looked at the rise of the Chief Digital Officer.

However, in that piece I suggested that the “transformer CDO” is very similar to the Chief Customer Officer, the latter also seeing a dramatic rise in popularity in the last two years.

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Reasons to attend Festival of Marketing 2015

Ashley Friedlein's 202 reasons to attend The Festival of Marketing [video]

It is now just under six weeks until our Festival of Marketing on 11-12 November at Tobacco Dock in London.

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Ashley Friedlein’s top 10 unmissable talks at the Festival of Marketing

Which ten sessions top my list to attend at the Festival of Marketing?

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:

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Was I wrong about Chief Digital Officers?

Recently Mike Bracken announced his resignation as Executive Director of Digital in the Cabinet Office.

He had been leading the digital transformation of UK government through the Government Digital Service (GDS), earning a CBE among other plaudits for his work. 

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Marketing and sales: how will they work together in the future?

More than anything ‘digital’ has blurred lines.

That might be blurring the lines of what we used to consider typical consumer behaviours or models (e.g. increased focus on behavioural segmentation and targeting rather than relying on, say, demographics), the blurring of lines across physical and digital channels, the blurring of lines across value and supply chains, the blurring of national boundaries and commerce. 

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