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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.

The rise of context for customising digital experiences

It's becoming harder and harder to persuade customers to give us their personal data. Are they more worried about privacy and security post-Snowden?

Are they wary that we marketers will relentlessly spam them once we have their details? Do they find it too difficult to do the data entry on the mobile devices they are increasingly using?

According to recent TRUSTe research 60% of people say they are more concerned about security now than they were a year ago.

It turns out that businesses sharing personal information with other companies (60%) and tracking online behaviour to show targeted ads and content (54%) were the two largest causes of increased online privacy concerns.

And yet there is also plenty of research to show that consumers appreciate personalisation and customisation. According to Adobe’s 'State of Online Advertising' last year, 88% of those surveyed in the EU were neutral or positive about customisation; this figure rose to 94% for the US.

So we face a tough challenge as marketers, as customers seemingly want the benefits of customisation but without giving up any personal data...

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Digital marketing and ecommerce trends for 2014 by Econsultancy CEO Ashley Friedlein

Each year I try to give my personal thoughts on what will be interesting and important in the world of digital marketing and ecommerce for the year ahead.

These are somewhere between trends and predictions. They are based largely on the many conversations I have with industry influencers and practitioners. 

Following are just a selection of 10 trends that I've chosen to highlight. However, there is free report to download and share which is over 40 pages long and covers all of my trends and predictions for 2014 across the 10 core digital topics that Econsultancy cover. 

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Why marketers should become CEOs

A couple of weeks ago, Centaur Media plc, owner of Econsultancy and Marketing Week among other things, appointed Andria Vidler as the new CEO.

Andria’s previous roles include chief executive of EMI Music UK & Ireland and MD of Magic Radio and Capital Radio. So plenty of general management and leadership experience.

But she has also been Marketing and Business Development Director at BBC Sport, CMO at Bauer Media, and is a Council Member for the Marketing Group of Great Britain. So a marketer who has become CEO.

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Digital transformation: the importance of culture

What is digital transformation? There is a lot of talk at the moment about this process, where an organisation overhauls its capabilities in order to reach digital enlightenment.

This is a large-scale change that typically takes years and cuts across strategies, people, processes and technology.

While there are internal elements to this, such as new social collaboration tools for employees and adopting more agile ways of working, much of the desired transformation relates to customer-facing activities, especially sales, customer service and marketing.

But what do we really mean when we talk about 'digital' anyway? What is a 'digital organisation'? Clearly we have gone beyond using just ‘online’ or ‘internet’ because those words do not adequately encompass mobile or other channels and media that are increasingly digital.

But I think ‘digital’ actually stands for more even than this...

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GOV.UK logo

The digital beauty of GDS (Government Digital Service)

In a few weeks we will be celebrating marketing at the world’s first Festival of Marketing. In line with our Modern Marketing Manifesto we believe that now is an exciting time to be in marketing.

The events that make up the Festival (Jump, Crunch, Punch, Funnel) cover different aspects of marketing. But perhaps the unifying theme is customer experience, across digital and physical.

The ‘experience economy’ was first proposed by Pine and Gillmore in 1998 in the Harvard Business Review. It describes how economies mature over time from ‘commodity’ through ‘goods’ to ‘services’ and, finally, ‘experiences’.

In this final stage businesses can charge for the value of the "transformation", of the “feeling”, that an experience offers.

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Why the modern marketer must embrace technology

Technology is one of the twelve core elements of the Modern Marketing Manifesto formulated by Marketing Week and Econsultancy.

We propose that to be a modern marketer you must be comfortable and adept at procuring and using technology to its best advantage. We believe modern marketers will have increasing ownership of technology.

But it isn’t just about the technology solutions or platforms. It is becoming increasingly important that marketers, and certainly digital marketers, have a good grasp of technology fundamentals to be most effective in their jobs.

Having a better technology understanding allows us to understand the ‘art of the possible’ and give us ideas, it helps us work more productively with colleagues in technology teams. 

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The battle for identity on the web

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.

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The creativity at the end of the rainbow

When the dust settles on all the current activity around technology and data, what will be left?

Creativity is the answer. But let us wind back a little.

Creativity is one of the core elements of our Modern Marketing Manifesto. It says “we believe we need creativity just as much as we need technology”.

However, most of the energy and activity currently is directed towards data and technology. 

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Agile marketing

Agile marketing: the 70:20:10 rule

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”.

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Our Modern Marketing Manifesto: will you sign?

Manifesto for Modern Marketing

We recently published the draft of our Modern Marketing Manifesto to get the feedback of the industry and explain why we felt it was needed.

As you can see we got a lot of very positive response. We have now redrafted the manifesto based on all the comments we received.

Here follows our final version. 

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modern marketing manifesto

Introducing the Modern Marketing Manifesto

Manifesto for Modern MarketingThere 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.  

We have always maintained that digital marketing does not exist in isolation. It is part of the bigger whole that is marketing. But digital has undeniably brought new aspects to that whole. So what if we were to reconstitute marketing as it is today with digital and classic fully fused? What would that look like?

Here follows our Modern Marketing Manifesto with its suggested twelve constituents. Its aim is to outline why we believe marketing is increasingly valuable and to define what it is to be a modern marketer.

Editor's note: Having listened to your feedback on the Modern Marketing Manifesto, we've now produced a final version and are now seeking signatories from anyone who is happy to support and endorse the manifesto. You can read the updated Manifesto here

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Why a Chief Digital Officer is a bad idea

The rise of the Chief Digital Officer has so far been most noticeable in the USA with a number of large companies appointing them.

The perceived need for a CDO is typically to try and accelerate digital transformation and to bridge the divide that can exist between the CMO and CIO.

Gartner recently predicted that by 2017 the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO. Much of that technology is for digital and ecommerce initiatives.

If the CMO is not comfortable with these new responsibilities, a CDO is seen as a solution.

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