I have spent my entire working life in data - 30-plus years and counting - and I still love it. Lucky me. Starting out with HSBC in direct marketing, I then became the “data bloke” for some big agency groups working across the globe, before starting my own thing. I founded and ran Tree for 14 years which went on to work for some of the most complex consumer data users in the UK, notably O2 and Channel 4. Having sold that to advertising group VCCP, I then added creative to my portfolio and ran below-the-line agency VCCPme. I now work for data specialists Blueberry Wave, helping companies rise to the challenge of commercialising data in the always-on, omni-channel world we inhabit.
I built up a company from scratch to a very successful business. To do that, I worked with fantastic people both in my team and with our clients, and experienced all of the highs and lows that go hand-in-hand with such an endeavour. I am hugely proud of that experience and that period of my career.
Work hard. Enjoy what you do and be passionate about it. Treat everyone fairly and with respect. And, never, ever think you can stop learning.GDPR was the main news for data in 2018. I still think that many companies have seen that as simply a “moment-in-time” hurdle, rather than a wake-up call to change the basis on which they develop relationships with their own customers. People now know their data is important to companies. Therefore, companies now must set their bar higher to make sure that customers have trust in them to use their personal data correctly. That high bar is still elusive for many companies, I’m afraid to say.
Very exciting, indeed. The world of marketing communications is now changing at pace. Media fragmentation continues, content-hungry consumers demand to be engaged with relevance, customer loyalty is an elusive goal for many companies and effectively harnessing marketing technology continues to challenge businesses. Rising to these challenges is imperative for all companies and, therefore, a superb opportunity for us in data to help make a commercial difference.
We have established a training academy within the business to train and nurture staff at all levels. We are actively involved with graduate programmes to acquire talented people with potential and are equally ensuring that all staff are up to date with the ever-changing data landscape and tools. Most importantly, people like to work somewhere they feel respects them and their work. We work hard to create a great culture that will ensure good people stay working with us and our clients for a long time.
I’ve been around longer than many and have heard the mantra, “data is the new oil,” several times before. But this year has made it real. Finally. The door isn’t just ajar, it’s been blown off the hinges. We can access the highest decision-making levels in business like never before. Let’s make it count!Data and analytics technology/service provider