Wednesday, 27 March 2013

My first commercial record - Now available

Dear Friends and Music Lovers.....

My new record has been released by my colleagues at the thursdaynightradioshow.

Here's what they announced:

How exciting! Our first release on thethursdaynightshow's record label!! Bossa Beat by DJ IT - in response to our challenge to define 'Electro Latin' as 'our own' genre! Also available in around 30 online stores - here is the iTunes link. All post tax and distribution go direct to artist (thethursdaynightshow's label is not-for-profit)

Please buy a copy and spread the word!


Friday, 20 April 2012

Doing Digital - Going Mobile

The Whole World’s Gone Global!

The late 20th and early 21st centuries were typified by fundamental changes in consumer behaviour and in markets. These were largely enabled by two significant technological advances; the Personal Computer and the Internet.

The first allowed users in business, and later the home, to access unrivalled computing power, without the restrictions and control of an IT department.

Secondly, during this period, the Internet evolved into a fully functional platform for global information exchange, communications and commerce.

Mobile technology represents the third wave of this technological tsunami and builds upon it. It puts significant, compact computer processing power literally in the hands of all of us, connecting everything together across the World Wide Web.

It is estimated that about 30% of the world’s 7 Billion population have access to the Internet, while globally there are about 5.8 billion mobile subscriptions. In the UK there are now more mobile devices than people! Imagine the potential that this level of technology penetration gives to marketers.

A striking feature of Mobile and Mobile Marketing is its ubiquity. Mobile devices are always connected and in contact. This allows consumers to access the functionality that they want, at the time, location and in the form in which they want it.

We are moving away from a world where media owners and marketers strive to get their message across just at the times and places of their choosing. Whether in advertising, news or entertainment, the consumer is now the final arbiter.

As consumers, we increasingly expect to be addressed and serviced as individuals, rather than just ‘one of the crowd’. We are conceptually moving from ‘one market of a million’ to ‘a million markets of one’.

A far cry from the days when Henry Ford offered his cars in ‘any color you want, as long as it’s black’!

In time, I believe that the mobile devices of today will evolve to become a kind of digital ‘Swiss army knife of the future. Imagine a device which; holds your money and id, captures or delivers media, communicates, navigates, scans, entertains, informs and educates.

Geo-location allows our Mobile device to be ‘aware’ of where it is and what is around it. With a device that goes everywhere with the consumer and which ‘knows’ where they are, there are many potential benefits for advertisers. Combining geo-targeted Mobile advertising with known customer data, for example from a web based CRM system, can provide highly relevant messaging which will add value to the recipient.

Delivered through a Concierge or PA application, services can be envisaged that advise the consumer of where to go and what to do, based on their location and predicted or specified preferences and tastes.

A further growth area will be in the case where the Mobile device acts as a ‘Social Object Controller’. With the development of web 3.0, more and more ‘inanimate’ objects will have web connectivity. These will include; cars, household appliances, games and media devices. In future, most of these will interact with, or be accessible and controllable from, the consumer’s Mobile device(s).

Consider a retail environment where your Mobile ‘knew’ where you were and could guide your shopping trip to nearby outlets and stores which stocked the items in which you were interested, alerted staff when you had arrived in the shop, performed a price-check and delivered personalised  offers, discounts and deals, uniquely tailored to you.

Imagine a world where your car not only had a sat-nav but would also generate active recommendations for restaurants, rest stops and places of interest en route, all based on your personal preferences and diary. When it became time for a vehicle service, the embedded Mobile device could notify the driver, contact the garage to inform them of areas for attention, and book the appointment. Bugatti Veyron technology today – in most vehicles in the future.

In a recent discussion with some of my students, these ideas raised some concerns about safety and security, with so much of a user’s personal information on one Mobile device. Today, with services such as Apple’s iCloud it is possible to remotely locate, lock or wipe a misplaced iPhone. Compare that with the nightmare of trying to contact all of the credit, debit and store card companies, after your purse or wallet is lost or stolen.

At present, many of these predictions may seem far-fetched or fanciful. In the past, many of us marvelled at the first ‘green screen’ PC’s, mobile phones the size and weight of a house-brick and even ‘Space Invaders’ or ‘Pong’ on the games machine in our local pub.

In future, the next generation of consumers will adopt and adapt to ubiquitous Mobile devices as an accepted and expected aspect of everyday life.

I, for one, can’t wait to join them!

Peter Rees DipM FCIM FRSA MCIPR MIDM, Chartered Marketer
City Digital Marketing Academy

Monday, 6 February 2012

Exclusive interview with Digital Marketing star Dr Dave Chaffey

After many months in the planning, I am delighted to post this EXCLUSIVE interview with stellar Digital Marketer Dr Dave Chaffey, to whom very many thanks!!

Dr Dave Chaffey is CEO and co-founder of Smart Insights (, a digital marketing advice site that helps businesses succeed online. He is author of 5 bestselling books on Ecommerce including Internet Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice and has been recognised as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have shaped the future of Marketing. 

Question 1: Many companies and managers today are overwhelmed with all the hype around Digital Marketing. What practical advice would you give them, to help get started in this area?

Yes, I think many “rabbits in the headlights” moments with the growing pace of change and the speed at which the key players introduce new features. The great thing about digital marketing is that you can “dive in” and start small by creating a blog or Facebook page. The problem is, you’ll often then lurch to the next latest hype to see whether that helps. It’s currently Google+ and Pinterest for example, this time last year it was Quora. None of these will help build commercial growth if you don’t get the marketing fundamentals right.

At we're firm believers in a planned, structured approach to help make sure your online marketing activities are aligned with business objectives. Planning also really helps you prioritise on the areas you can have the biggest impact, maybe opportunities in tactics that competitors have ignored. It's also essential to get inside customers’ minds to see what they think, feel and do online and work out how that connects with your brand.

It’s crazy really, with how much is invested in digital media today, how few have a planned approach. We asked this question in a post about digital planning a couple of years ago and were not surprised to see that the majority have an ad-hoc approach. We repeated this informal poll again this year and found there was little change:

So, my practical advice is “don’t just jump in”, think about what you want to achieve and how you’re going to position yourself online, to differentiate yourself. A practical tip here, is to improve how you communicate your value proposition across your website and social outposts. If you’re an established brand this is less necessary, but if you’re starting out, it’s essential. 

See our advice on crafting an online value proposition (OVP).

Question 2: What place do Social Media tools have in the Digital Marketing Mix? Are they simply additional advertising channels or something more?

Sure, you can think of social media platforms as advertising channels, but as you know Peter, that’s completely missing the point. We had an interesting discussion of this topic on our LinkedIn Group just yesterday.

A student studying digital marketing was asking about the scope of social media and their relevance to marketing. The short definition from my book is that

"Social media encourage audience participation, interaction and sharing"

You can see that doesn’t sit at all well with advertising; we all know we don’t want to be advertised to when we’re socialising. That’s not to say that advertising on the social platforms doesn’t have value in raising awareness and connecting with advocates, far from it. But social media has an impact across the whole of digital marketing mix as you suggest.

Jen Law, one of our expert members expressed it better, saying “Social media is about conversations, community, connecting with personalities and building relationships. It is not just a broadcast channel or a sales and marketing tool”.

I think it’s interesting that in 2011-12 we are seeing company response to social media growing up and many now see it more broadly and are thinking how best to harness social media marketing across the business. We’re seeing companies talk about broader management of social media. In the same discussion, Paul Fennemore, a social media specialist, said:

A purist would say 'social media' is media. In this case Web2.0 interactive, real-time based media including: Video, Blogs, Wikis, Gaming, Photos, Music and so on.

However, social media has come to mean than this and is not a good term for what it represents, Social Media Marketing, Social Commerce, Social Business, Social Enterprise are better terms depending on the context.

Here, the CEO of Burberry talks about how fundamental social media are to the way they operate today:

Question 3: Today, consumers are exposed to a vast amount of data. How can marketers make it easier for them to find and hear what they need and filter out extraneous messages and information, from all the noise?

Analytics is a passion of mine thanks to my background as a scientist when I was studying in the 1980s. It’s one of the reasons why I was attracted to Internet marketing as it was known in the mid 1990s. It seemed to offer an opportunity to understand our customers much better and deliver relevance in our communications to help secure better business outcomes and ROI on our media investments. Yet, sadly I think most companies fail to filter out the noise.

There are certainly technical challenges with attributing influence to multiple media across complex customer journeys and how we use cookies to do this. I also think the web analytics systems as designed, are mostly designed “by geeks, for geeks” and they’re not structured around the questions that marketers ask – that’s why we’ve developed guides to step marketers through these questions on But the bigger problems are todo with the classic governance issues of people, process and systems. You need the right KPIs, dashboards tailored to your business and a regular review/action process. Out-of-the box, the analytics or social listening tools don’t give you this. Some big companies do get this right, here’s one example we covered:

 Question 4: What steps can companies take to measure and validate the returns that they get from their Digital Marketing investment?

To answer you’re question directly, I recommend these steps:

  1. Define value of outcomes on your site – setup goals in Google Analytics with values assigned to represent value.
  2. Put in place tracking of all media, on and offline, with consistent marketing source codes
  3. With this in place start using rarely used measures like revenue or goal value per visit and $Index value
  4. Understand, at a granular level which media including sites, search terms, placement and creative create value for you.
  5. Maximise value, prioritising the media with the best conversion rates and ROI.
  6. Understand more complex journeys through multichannel funnels so you are crediting assists earlier in the journey rather than just “last click wins”
  7. Find solutions to assess the value within social media marketing – 1 to 6 will help, but specialist tools are still needed!
If you want more detail on this, see an article I wrote for Brian Clifton , Show Me The Money, or buy Brian’s book on Google Analytics – this stuff matters! 

Question 5: As the Web evolves into the Cloud and becomes even more pervasive, what changes do you predict for Marketing, resulting from the growth of mobile and the ubiquitous connection of less animate objects?

A challenging question to end! Regardless of the cloud, I think many don’t have a good conception of the their creative assets and how to make them most effective. We still have this mental idea of creative placed on our site or an advertisers site we need to use to get our message across. In 2007, I think there was a lot of discussion of “atomisation” and I think this is a better way to think of creative assets today. 

My colleague, Dan Bosomworth on likes to call these “social objects” and they are the fundamental units  for effective content marketing today.  They are incredibly effective in some markets such as tech products and fashion. Companies like Hubspot, Eloqua in B2B, ASOS, Burberry in Fashion are masters in creating effective assets and campaigns around these which expand their reach and preference and link through to commercial goals. There are examples from many sectors though. 

For me a solid content marketing strategy is key to online success today and it’s fundamental to success in search, social, email marketing and conversion. It unifies brand communications in disparate channels. So if you don’t have a content strategy you’re falling behind.

We find discussions of the potential of mobile marketing are some of the most popular on our blog, whether this is about QR codes, mobile apps or effective mobile design. It certainly gives increased opportunities for connecting with consumers in a more personal way, but I can’t see examples where how a company deploys mobile marketing has transformed their brand in the way that content and social media have for some of the examples above. 

At some levels a mobile or tablet device is just an alternative to the desktop platformand gives a channel choice for similar content and experience. It doesn’t give so many brands so many new opportunities to engage. But I’d like to hear of more examples, particularly around proximity or location-based marketing with experiential marketing events.  This is where it can give companies an edge.

Looking further into the future, more objects will be web-enabled whether that’s cars, household items or people! PR Smith talked about this in our Emarketing Excellence book as earlier as 2001 about the Post-PC customer. 

We haven’t seen real progress in this area although the Verichip  was touted as an implantable RFID chip. Health and privacy concerns seemed to have stopped it and I’m not too sorry about that – I think we all need to unplug sometime! 

It will happen, but “not in my lifetime”.

Useful links and resources:

If readers of this post would like to learn more about digital marketing, we've created a framework on Smart Insights which can help marketers explore a topic without being reliant on Google or Wikipedia. 

Here are the starting points I'd recommend:

Our home page has a widget we developed based on the PRACE framework to explore over 200 digital marketing techniques 

For a quick scan of all techniques try our Best Practices review- grouped in 25 key marketing activities

We also have a Digital Marketing Strategy Guide and simplified marketing planning framework.

Find out more about our Ebooksand training courses.

Thank you Dr Chaffey!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Twitter for the over 40's

 “I’m in the #bath”

Nothing generates more debate and exemplifies the perceived problems with Digital Marketing and Social Media than the high profile, often highly publicised, crumbs of consciousness emitted by ‘A’ and even ‘Z’ list celebrities, in 160 byte-sized bursts.

Welcome to the world of Twitter!

Before I try to explore the business areas where Digital Marketing and Social Media can make a very real contribution to professionally planned and managed marketing activities, it is worth recognising that vast numbers of people, for whatever reason, are actually interested in the day-to-day minutiae of celebrity lives. Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber have followers numbered in the tens of millions, larger even than the total populations of whole countries.

This has been labelled as ‘ambient intimacy’ and is an effective approach to build familiarity, favourability and interest for the ones being followed. These are all very recognisable and desirable outcomes for those with a background in or experience of PR.

Though it may be difficult for many to comprehend the underlying rationale for such a following, this reality could actually present a market opportunity, if these followers were to represent a significant target segment for your marketing and communications activities.

Think of Twitter as a subscription based news or information broadcasting service where its readers (Followers) can choose to subscribe and follow the articles (Tweets) of their specifically chosen authors. Each author has a unique name starting with an @ symbol.

Twitter was designed for compatibility with SMS text messaging, giving the well known 140 character limit for the content of a Tweet. What can you say in 160 characters? Not much admittedly, though some people try, with varying degrees of success!

Once you use Twitter, you will soon realise that most Tweets actually contain a link to a web page, typically shortened by one of the many tools available, to reduce a lengthy web address to fit within the 140 character limit. This link very quickly and dramatically increases the utility of a Tweet, directing the follower to a place where they can access extensive and interesting information, videos, music or whatever. Twitter is a wonderful tool for sharing news and commentary. 

Recent examples, related to the ‘Arab spring’, show just what a powerful system Twitter is for broadcasting breaking news, often in advance of the major media agencies. As with the BBC charter, used in this way, Twitter can be a powerful method to inform, educate as well as entertain.

How then can we sort through the tens of millions of Tweets to identify those in which we may be interested? - and how can we make sure that the Tweets we send can be found by those with whom we wish to communicate?  Twitter has an excellent and simple indexing technique called the ‘hashtag’. 

Putting the # symbol in a Tweet before a chosen keyword or words (e.g. #marketing) will add it to the Twitter global index. A subsequent search will find Tweets containing this hashtag. Read these Tweets and ‘Follow’ authors who interest you. You can quickly learn what people think about your company, your products and possibly you!

The top 10 ‘hot topics’ on Twitter are displayed and updated in real time on your screen, giving you an insight into the things that are being actively discussed. Although by default Tweets are public, it is possible to write directly and privately to other Twitter users. Just think of the possibilities for customer engagement, having identified those with strong positive or (maybe more importantly) negative views about your products and services. Now you can conduct market research in real time and on a global basis. 

Consider the opportunity that this presents to marketers.
Though it is not widely realised, it is common Twitter etiquette to follow back those that follow you. In this way it can be very quick to build a community or interest group clustered about a specific, product, service or organisation.

Once you have established such contacts, you can conduct brand and business based conversations with your current or potential customers. Satisfaction surveys, consumer input on new product developments and online sales promotions all become possible, much more quickly and at a fraction of the cost incurred using non digital techniques.

Twitter therefore provides a platform for indentifying audiences and market segments with specific interests and opinions. It allows us to develop contacts and build intimacy with them and engage in a meaningful two-way conversation, regarding those interests which we both share. We can now achieve all this, much more effectively and efficiently than has ever been possible in the past.

Of much greater value for marketers than the news that.....
“I’m in the #bath”.

Follow CDMA on Twitter @citydigital

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Future of Marketing - EXCLUSIVE Article by Prof Malcolm McDonald

We are delighted to post this exclusive article by  Emeritus Professor Malcolm H.B. McDonald MA(Oxon), MSc, PhD, D.Litt. FCIM FRSA.and reproduced here with his kind permission.

Prof McDonald is the Academic Adviser to the City Digital Marketing Academy.


In a paper published in the UK’s leading academic journal, I cited fifty scholarly references testifying to the fact that marketing’s bright beginnings in the 1960s were not built on, that the academic community had become largely an irrelevancy, and that practitioners in the main have failed to embrace the marketing concept and the proven tools and techniques of marketing.

In the arid desert of marketing as a discipline, however, there still exists a wonderful oasis of very professional, market-orientated organisations that practice marketing
as I teach it, as a fully accountable discipline which drives corporate success. So, let me attempt to summarise briefly why some of the poisonous slurs thrown at our
discipline are, in the main, ill-judged and ill-founded and why we can be proud of the exemplary standards demonstrated by our leading companies.


In the late 1960s and early 1970s, there was a growing consciousness of the problems that mass consumption brought with it. A movement was formed which quickly Greening of America, Theodore Roszak’s The Making of a Counter Culture and Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock were published at that time. The basic message articulated was that the people could no longer be thought of as ‘consumers’ - some aggregate variable in the grand marketing design. Such feelings had led to a view that capitalism presented an unacceptable face in promoting an acquisitive and materialistic society. As a more visible manifestation of such activity, marketing was singled out for attention for playing on people’s weaknesses – by insidious means persuading the consumer to do things without which their lives would be incomplete.

This argument deserves closer examination, for it confuses needs with wants. But, even worse, it involves the notion of a defenceless consumer, a characterisation that any scrupulous marketer must reject. For no matter what ‘marketing’ is performed, the consumer remains free to make choices – either between competing products or
not to buy at all. Indeed, it could be argued that by extending the range of choices that the consumer has available, marketing is enhancing consumer sovereignty
rather than eroding it. Although promotional activity may persuade an individual to buy a product or service for the first time, promotion is unlikely to be the persuasive factor in any subsequent purchase, when the consumer will act from first-hand experience of the product.


Several specific issues have formed the focus of the debate on the ethics of marketing including:

• the contribution of marketing to materialism
• rising consumer expectations as a result of marketing
  pressure; and
• the use of advertising to mislead or distort
  Marketing, it has been suggested, helps to feed the materialistic
acquisitive urges of society, and in turn feeds on them itself.
  Of course 
implicit in such criticism is the value judgement that
  materialism and 
acquisitiveness are in themselves undesirable.

The argument is that marketing raises the level of consumer expectations. More than simple aspirations, there is desire to acquire a specific set of gratifications through the purchase of goods and services, fuelled by marketing’s insistent messages. Further, if at the same time the individual lacks the financial resources with which to
fulfil such expectations, then marketing inevitably adds to a greater awareness of differences in society, and to dissatisfaction and unrest among those finding themselves in this situation, as those apologists for the street riots in August claimed.

The counter-argument here is that marketing itself does not contribute to rising expectations and thus to social and economic disparity; it merely makes people aware of and better informed about the differences that already exist in society. In this respect, it can be claimed that its effects are beneficial, since it supports, even hastens, pressures for fairer distribution. It can also be argued that materialism is not a recent phenomenon correlated with the advent of mass marketing.


Closely connected with the ethics of marketing is that of consumerism (in the sense of the existence of a consumer movement and consumer activists). Ironically, this
movement is pro-marketing; it wants the marketing approach to business implemented in a sincere rather than cynical spirit. The ‘cynical’ implementation, which consumerists claim has been too widely practised, is no better than high-pressure salesmanship or misleading puffery. The ‘sincere’ implementation of a marketing based approach entails respect for each individual consumer served. Better marketing has always emanated from a deep understanding of consumer expectations combined with the consumer’s right to be informed and
protected and to enjoy a higher quality of life.

Most of the outstanding marketing skills on which most theory is based still reside in the FMCG sector. Whilst certainly adopted by leading industrial companies such
as GE and 3M, and by some of the top retailers such as Tesco and Sainsbury, in the main marketing has yet to storm the citadels of B2B and service sectors which
account for the majority of the UK’s GDP. In these, marketing is merely communications and a parody of best practice. For example, in the financial and
insurance sectors, very few brands have managed to create a complete set of perceptions in people’s minds. The large majority of consumers still cannot differentiate between the brands of major banks, building societies and insurance companies, in spite of the billions of pounds spent each year on image advertising.

Emeritus Professor Malcolm McDonald  

Malcolm, author of 43 books, was Professor of Marketing and Deputy Director Cranfield School of Management, is a graduate in English from Oxford University, in Business Studies from Bradford University Management Centre, has a PhD from Cranfield University and a D.Lit from Bradford University .  His extensive industrial experience includes a number of years as Marketing Director of Canada Dry.

He is Chairman of Brand Finance plc and five other companies. He spends much of his time working globally with the operating boards of the world’s biggest multinational companies.

In 2006 he was  listed by the Times as one of the country’s top ten consultants

He is Visiting Professor at Henley, Warwick, Aston and Bradford Business Schools and Emeritus Professor at Cranfield.

‘DOING DIGITAL’ – A Marketers View

Since its creation, the Internet has evolved from a nuclear resistant military communications network, via an academic knowledge-base, into a fully functional platform for global information, communications and commerce.

I recently met author James Glieck who said in his latest book The Information, “As the printing press, the telegraph, the typewriter, the telephone, the radio, the computer and the Internet prospered, each in its turn, people said, as if for the first time, that a burden had been placed upon human communication: new complexity, new detachment and a frightening excess.”
These advances have had a profound and disruptive effect on markets and marketing, and radically altered the way media is consumed, commerce is transacted and communications are facilitated.

I often characterise this as moving from ‘one market of a million’ to a ‘million markets of one’. This inversion permits different ways and new opportunities to engage with our customers, as individuals. It has changed how we might now undertake market research, new product development, channel selection, customer relationship management, advertising and marketing communications.

As all these processes undoubtedly contribute to successful marketing, how much more effective will we be when we increase two-way customer engagement and focus?  Digital marketing helps us to do this. 

If marketing is about ‘anticipating, identifying and satisfying customer wants and needs’, and creating products and services that ‘add value to, and are valued by customers’, we now have a far  broader range of tools and techniques available to realise these goals.

Some organisations believe that Digital Marketing should be outsourced to ‘specialists’. While there are some technical aspects that may demand this approach, I believe that it is critical for all executives and managers in all organisations to understand this new field, develop winning digital strategies, and then use appropriate internal or external resources to manage their tactical implementation.

People often have concerns relating to; safety and security, relevance and ‘noise’. Let me address these.

By far the biggest worry is data privacy and protection, hacking and bullying. The reality online is the same as it has always been in the non-digital world. Just as we secure our property and premises, it is important that we adopt Best Practice online in terms of up to date anti-virus and anti-hacking software. Take sensible precautions regarding passwords and backup data regularly. Decide how detailed and how publically visible you wish your online information to be and set the access controls accordingly. All reputable sites have facilities to block and even report unwanted attention, often in far more permanent and effective ways than in the non-digital world.

Some look at the main platforms available online; Google, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and the rest, and decide that these sites have certain drawbacks -  a lack of relevance, being just for younger people or the online equivalent of ‘junk-mail’. These views are largely due to a misunderstanding of their different strengths and weaknesses. Properly used as part of an integrated marketing and communications plan, they can provide substantial competitive and cost advantage. If Facebook was a country it would be the world’s third largest! Is that something we can really afford to ignore?

Problems can be caused by the enormous volumes of inconsistent and inconsequential data available online. Companies may find it hard to be heard, whilst consumers sometimes find it difficult to ‘cut through the noise’ to locate the information that they seek.

The solution requires efficient information filtering and sorting, in both directions. Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation techniques are now very well developed and used to make sure that companies have a usable, prominent and visible web presence. On the customer side, communications delivery channels such as social media, Blogs, Wikis and mobile platforms allow them to receive just the information that they want, in the places and at the times that they want it.

In summary, a good digital strategy, properly implemented, can be a significant source of improved customer satisfaction, differentiation and cost reduction. As Charles Darwin said “it is not the strongest that survive, nor the most intelligent, but those most adaptable to change”.

It is time that we evolved!

Peter Rees DipM FCIM FRSA MCIPR Chartered Marketer

Twitter @citydigital

Unicorns and Rainbows - The Science of Social Media

This is a lecture given by Dan Zarrella, HubSpot's social media scientist, at Harvard a little earlier this year.


The Science of Social Media from HubSpot on Vimeo.