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 direct marketing agency VCCPme.
I now work for data specialists Blueberry Wave, helping companies globally rise to the challenge of commercialising data in the always-on, omnichannel 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.
I have past and present been lucky enough to know several truly inspirational people in different areas of my work and life. I can’t narrow it down to just one person, as each has provided me with some valuable insight, advice or great leadership and continue to do so.
Last year was an exceptional year of change for me in business that I certainly didn’t foresee at the beginning of 2019, with the journey I started on with Blueberry Wave three years ago accelerating rapidly. We have now become part of a global business and received significant investment to grow during this year. Exciting times indeed ahead.
The world of marketing communications is changing at pace. Media fragmentation continues, traditional agencies are struggling to adapt to the data-led marketing age, 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 many.
Rising to these challenges is imperative for all companies, and it is time for the data specialists to take an ever-increasing role at the centre-stage of strategic marketing decisions.
Harnessing data and technology well should deliver only benefits, for instance, health and social care can be improved by efficiently delivering services and resources. where and when they are most needed.
Data and tech should also deliver a greater understanding of the challenges and adaptations needed to work with the changing climate.
And as awareness of data’s ability to drive change grows, there will be a major opportunity to encourage more and more creative people into the industry to look at better ways in which we can use “data for good”.
Technology is an enabler. In order to leverage tech most effectively, businesses need a top-down organisational alignment for a truly effective digital transformation. This alignment is where many companies frequently fall down – common agreement on the problem being solved, how all parts of the businesses work together to deliver, and how the solution will be implemented afterwards. Technology is not a solution it itself, it must be a part of a common desire through the business to drive and deliver change.