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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.

Are we on the cusp of a new golden age for marketing?

Our recent Salary Survey 2015 made for somewhat depressing reading.

I was amazed at the continuing size (21%) of the gender gap in terms of average pay. But it wasn’t that so much as a certain despondency and lack of oomph that came through the data.

Most marketers feel underpaid, they feel that the function is not ‘understood’ internally, and more than a quarter are unhappy in their jobs. 

Ashley Friedlein Econsultancy Founder

Three digital marketing mega trends for 2015

Let us start with the bombshell. There isn’t anything new on the digital marketing horizon for 2015 that excites me much in isolation. 

In previous years entire new disciplines emerged. Last year was big for content marketing, data, native advertising, programmatic.

Before that we had marketing automation, inbound marketing and going back further still social, mobile, video and so on. “Search engine marketing” was coined as a discipline back in 2001. 


Marketing in the 'stream'

Earlier this year Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snapchat, gave a keynote address where he talked about three characteristics of the era we’re living in: internet everywhere, fast and easy media creation and ephemerality.

Snapchat is particularly known for the third of those, of course; the evaporating selfie, capturing a ‘moment of me, now’ has become an incredibly popular form of self-expression.

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A surprising possible future for identity online?

“On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” This adage began as a cartoon caption by Peter Steiner and was published by The New Yorker in July 1993.

It became extremely popular. Indeed it has earned Steiner over $50,000 from its reprinting. 

But this points to a problem. We marketers extol the powers of personalisation, the merits of relevancy, targeting, customisation, segmentation. We love to really understand our customers, have deep insight and consequently deliver relevant messaging and engagement.

But what if our customers are not who they say they are? What if we really are real-time retargeting a Labrador?

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Marketing Cycle 2014 - London to Paris - roundup

Last Thursday around 50 brave marketing, digital and creative professionals set off on bike. Half to ride to Brighton in one day and the rest to push on to Paris over another two days. Around 250 miles in total. 

This was the inaugural Marketing Cycle hosted by Centaur Media plc's marketing, digital and creative brands (including Marketing Week, Econsultancy, Design Week, Creative Review, The Profile Group, Celebrity Intelligence) and organised by Ride25.  

Following are some photos and links as a roundup of an excellent trip and memorable adventure.


Predictive marketing: a new dimension?

At Econsultancy we do a number of events and research focused on B2B marketing. Indeed the upcoming Festival of Marketing has a whole stage dedicated to it.

A recurring theme is the relationship between sales and marketing.

In most B2B organisations, sales is still the dominant function. We often hear that sales and marketing should work more closely to together, focus on the whole customer journey, establish agreed processes, terminology and definitions (what exactly do we mean by a ‘sales qualified lead’?), hand off points and so on. 

Ashley Friedlein 3D print

3D printing - check me out!

I'm intrigued by 3D printing. It feels like there might be something in it. It could revolutionise business models and customer experiences in a way that is almost as disruptive as ecommerce and digital have been.

You used to go to a shop to buy something; then you could phone to order it; then you could go online, or on your phone, to see it and buy it; but what if you could print it out at home? The potential implications are enormous. 

But how advanced is the technology? What are the actual use cases for it? And what are the opportunities for marketing? 


IBM on its agile marketing strategy: the theory and the practice

I have written a lot about the opportunities of adopting an agile marketing approach.

However, it is quite hard to find many examples of this being practiced yet, particularly at any kind of scale, and even more particularly by organisations that are not start-ups. IBM is one such example and it is great to see B2B marketing leading the way here. 

Ben Edwards is VP, Global Communications & Digital Marketing at IBM. He leads the company's global communications function, global advertising & media, brand strategy & design, digital strategy and IBM Marketing Labs.

Following is a transcript of an interview I did with him to understand IBM's thinking around agile marketing and how this is playing out in practice. 


Is it time for ‘marketing-as-a-service’ (MaaS)?

Snow Fall is a beautiful, interactive and immersive multimedia experience about the avalanche at Tunnel Creek in the US.

It was lovingly crafted by The New York Times in 2012 and was heralded as setting new standards in digital storytelling.

Seventeen months later, the publication’s internal innovation report was leaked. It points out that while projects such as Snow Fall are extremely popular, with more than 21m page views, they are not easily replicable.


Is your company ready for agile marketing?

Just over a year ago Econsultancy and Marketing Week published a Modern Marketing Manifesto, an attempt to try and capture what should constitute marketing as we move further into the 21st century.

But only one of our twelve manifesto points, which we called ‘Character’, really addressed how we should work as marketers.

Not what the tools of marketing are but the skill set practitioners need to operate and work day to day. 


Digital to marketing to business transformation

IBM recently announced a $100m investment in its Interactive Experience arm. Essentially this is IBM’s global digital agency.

At Econsultancy we are currently finalising our annual Top 100 UK Digital Agencies report. Without giving away too much you will see the likes of IBM, Deloitte Digital and Accenture Interactive ranking highly. 


The many ‘deaths’ of digital marketing

In the last six months there has been talk of the death of digital marketing. Forrester recently mooted that digital marketing is dead and that we are now in an era of “post-digital” marketing. 

In his keynote address at Dmexco in Cologne last September, P&G’s global brand building officer Marc Pritchard also talked about the end of digital marketing as something separate or distinct.

Indeed this is a view that Econsultancy and Marketing Week espoused in our Modern Marketing Manifesto which we published almost a year ago.

We cut ‘digital’ as one of the key elements of marketing from the initial draft and focus instead on integration, customer experience, brand, data and other elements irrespective of medium or channel.