In early April I wrote a piece for WARC, looking at the lessons from past recessions and what, if anything, we could learn and bring to this recession/depression in the context of eCommerce. The piece is here but I was also lucky enough to have a chat with David Tiltman as part of their Marketing in the COVID-19 crisis series.

Below is the video plus a slightly polished up version of my remarks.

Are we right to think that e-commerce players should do well out of this lockdown?

It depends. There are many different players out there. Established Pureplay, fragile pure-plays, omnichannel ecommerce, brands with DTC. …


A Marketing Value Wheel with Drivers, Strategies and Value Creation Tactics to increase Business, Consumer and Cultural Value (download PDF Version)

After “Strategy”, value is probably the most abused word in marketing.

A quick survey of agency, consultancy, studio and creative/strategy collectives’ websites will turn up multiple claims to “create value for clients and their customers”. Whether talking about campaigns, brand experiences or new products, the result of any initiative is usually “added”, “newly created”, “delivered” or “unlocked” value.

But what do we mean by “value”?

Is “value” in marketing a euphemism for something more difficult — for an outcome that we find hard to measure or pin down, for something that is different depending on where you sit in an organisation or department? To paraphase Montoya, we “keep using that word. …


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Last week I shared a screengrab of a “mini-primer” of books about strategy on Twitter. Since then I’ve had a few requests for the text version plus a lot of good suggestions for ones I had missed. So here is the list…

*Sharpen Brain*

Sapient/Homo Deus – Harari

Technically Wrong – Wachter-Boettcher

The Four-Dimensional Human – Laurence Scott

The Art of Looking Sideways – Alan Fletcher

Anything by Tufte

Anything by Mariana Mazzucato

Film Theory & Criticism – Mast/Cohen/Braudy

Cryptonomicon+Baroque Cycle – Neal Stephenson

The Water Kingdom (secret history of China) – Philip Ball

Modern Literary Theory – Rice/Waugh

Moneyball — Michael…


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Illustration by the fabulous Richard Morgan

Direct-to-consumer brands are “shaking up retail”. They are “disrupting CPG”. They are “killing the big brands” and, in the words of Terry Kawaja of LUMA Partners, they are the reason you need to “Fire your CMO”.

The headlines are alarmingly impressive for a +20-year-old channel where no one can agree on the name.

DTC, d2c, DNVBs (Digitally-native vertical brands), Instabrands, digital-private-label…the explosion of terms is on a par with the proliferation of products and brands in the brave new dis-intermediated marketplace.

Whenever someone claims that [X] is going to kill [Y], or [A] is going to disrupt the entire [B] category or [C] industry, the answer is often “maybe but not in the way you think”. Video did not kill the radio star or else I wouldn’t be sitting on nagging recommendations to listen to several hundred Podcasts. …


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Just Eat Take(away)over, Aga AI Stories, Drowning in Plastic

Are strategists allowed to have creative ideas?

On the balance of probabilities not really, but that doesn’t stop it happening.

In a conversation with some strategy types on Twitter I was wondering what happens to the ideas we have that don’t make it – not because they are “off brief” or “out of strategy’s remit” but because there wasn’t a brief or paying client in the first place?

In my day to day life I work with people who use data-inspired creativity and technology to create brand experiences that give clients an unfair commercial advantage. …


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Download a PDF of the “Map of Amazon and its impact on Modern Marketing” here to zoom in

“Amazon is like pornography…everywhere, hard to define, but you always know it when you see it.”

Marketing is changing. In a time of data abundance, incredible technology, imaginative canvases, and serious cultural and social conflicts, marketers, suppliers and agencies face increasing complexity and competition. While the industry is ripe with different “thought leadership” conversations about “what’s next” offering simple magic solutions, the one consistent thing is that sooner or later someone will mention Amazon.

Since its incorporation in 1994 and via a close escape from being called “Cadabra”, Amazon.com Inc, the US-based retail giant, has grown to become the world’s largest internet retailer despite an explosion of competition. It is only the second company to exceed a market capitalisation of $1 trillion in intra-day trading. …


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TL;DR — 4 dirty secrets of Data-driven marketing and 3 examples showing principles about how to be data-inspired instead

Marketing is an industry built, not on science or evidence, but aphorisms.

Parroted repetition of popular ideas often leads us to a convergence in beliefs as damaging as any brand endline singularity.

Over the last few years it has been impossible to go to a meeting, conference or pitch presentation without someone expounding on the importance of “Data”. Sooner or later someone senior will say “Data is the new oil”.

In so doing they will be spreading a meme that has gathered pace and nodding orthodoxy since the famous 2011 World Economic Forum report positioning data as the next great asset class. This repetition of the “Data is X” mantra reinforces the mistaken notion that “Data” is a singular monolith (not just a non-count noun) and turns it into a gnomic force to be reckoned with, a force that means all business must be “data driven”. …


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PDF Version

Strategists face increasing pressures as they ply their role in creating communications, products, services or experiences that solve real customer problems against the background of a world of complex and evolving business, customer, technology, media and data forces.

When everything is new and we can all be replaced by AI what can we do to be useful now and tomorrow? Can we fall back on instinctive understanding of Bernbach’s ‘unchanging man — what compulsions drive him, what instincts dominate his every action”? …


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Credit Lauren Manning

Content is the last C word of marketing and digital media — often misused, never defined and frequently offensive to the ears.

But content is not “stuff we’re going to upload to the thing”.

As marketers we should think of content not as a fashion but as a strategic business asset, a product to offer to customers and stakeholders, in fact. Content can play a vital role in driving awareness, traffic, sales, and reputation throughout the customer journey to create a comprehensive experience.

And yet this is how it is routinely seen: left to the final stages of projects, developed in isolation, or created to fit within stringent containers for the sole purpose of filling (or ticking) a box. …


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When is a fail not a fail?

Maybe when it’s what you are aiming for all along?

The Burger King Google Home triggering ad is not a Pepsi or United-level PR disaster. This looks deliberate: the old stunt of generating column inches (like this) talking about an ad and then not having to spend media money by getting it pulled. As soon as the ad went live the clock was ticking down until Google put a block on the audio signature and the functionality — and conceit — was defunct.

Where things potentially went wrong is not allowing for the internet’s natural response to any UGC or hackable corporate campaign — to either draw a penis on it or kick off a satirical flamewar. …

About

David J Carr

Strategy Director. ex-CD, Planning Director & Head of UX @ Digitas, DIG, Publicis, Chemistry & JWT. APG Gold & Google Planning Innovator of Year.

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