Reverse mentoring? What a good idea…..

I heard this term whilst watching a video from the Drum from their recent Digital convergence conference.  One of the key points being discussed was the struggle seasoned marketers, often in top leadership positions (CMO’s) have with modern technology and the fast paced digital shift.  Mark Cody, at Tesco Mobile shared how they have introduced ‘reverse mentoring’ into their business where the senior folk take time to sit down with the young grads, who mentor them on the latest digital trends such as Snapchat for example.

What a brilliant idea, and how great to empower the younger marketing generation that have grown up in the digital age to share their knowledge and experience with those who have been around the block a little longer.  So many organisations are crying out for something like this, as they continue to hold on to traditional methods; knowing the need to embrace digital but not knowing where to begin. I love Einsteins definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.

Andy Mihalop, Industry Head at Google hits the nail on the head when suggesting that marketers need to be become, marketing technologists.  This new breed will have the ability to bridge the gap between the creativity/brand values and the big data/technology, and offer a truly customer-centric experience.

I’d like to see more and more companies implementing reverse mentoring programs; but even better, have the bravery to do something different and reap the rewards of doing so.


Continuous Commerce by @ogilvydo


I stumbled upon this brilliant video today from Ogilvy so thought I’d share – this perfectly captures, the exciting opportunities and necessities for marketers to meet the ever growing expectations of continuous/connected consumers! I really want one of those mirrors when I wake up in the morning 🙂

Wearable Tech – life with Fitbit!

Like many people I started the new year on a bit of a health mission, and after a few wobbles I’m happy to report that I haven’t fallen off the wagon yet!  What has helped spur me on, and also added a healthy bit of competition between my wife and I is a Fitbit.  It’s a fantastic piece of wearable tech that helps track your daily activity such as steps, active minutes, calories and your sleeping patterns would you believe.  I’ve started taking the stairs rather than the lift at work, I’m attending the gym a lot more and going for long walks in the park with my dear wife at the weekend – it has really revolutionised my daily exercise and health routine.

In fact, at the very start when we both got them – our competitive pride and determination to complete more steps than each other resulted in one evening us both running on the spot at 1am in the morning rather than getting into bed and going to sleep.  It was almost an hour before I decided to take one for the team and get into bed.  The things we have to do sometimes as husbands!

The internet of things, of which wearable tech is just one aspect of the ‘wearables, shareables, connectables and drivables’ future phenomenon is a fascinating development and promises to be simply blow our minds.  It’s exciting to see the pioneering concepts of Google Glass, contact lenses that can measure blood sugar levels for diabetes sufferers, connected cars, smart refridgerators – I could go on and on.  But in the meantime, I’ll wear my Fitbit with pride – and smile every time my wife (a teacher) shares a story where a child at school asks what is on her wrist, and upon hearing what is it, jokes, “Ah miss, I thought it was an asbo!”

What are we doing with all this BIG DATA?

I’ve recently completed a module on big data as part of the squared online course – a fantastic digital marketing qualification by Google.  With such a wealth of data, it provides a great opportunity as marketers to serve timely, relevant, contextual and engaging communications to meet consumer needs identified by all this data in the first place – but is there such a thing as too much data?

I’ve used Chrome for a number of years now and I love the random but useful plug-ins and a recent favourite is Ghostery.  This lets you see the number of cookies, tags, web trackers, ad networks, etc that a particular site has set up – and it’s fascinating to see just the sheer volume of tags that some sites use; to the point where I sometimes question just how worthwhile all this data is – and surely most of it is never used.  This site for instance has 62 Ghostery tags on it – I’ll almost forgive them because it is a great article regarding #mashtags:

With so much data available – why are some of the biggest companies so poor at utilising it?  I thought I’d share a few recent examples where I have cringed or smiled applausingly at their use of ‘big data’.  A few months ago I booked some flights to the USA with Opodo as they offered the best value of being able to book flights with multiple airlines.  No sooner than a couple of days after booking the flights did I receive an email offering half price flights to the USA.  Hello!  I’ve just booked flights with you to the USA, why on earth would I be interested in half price flights when I’ve already booked them – where was the hotel, or car hire offers specific to the destinations I had booked?  They now had a huge amount of personal data about me, and yet continued to push the mass blanket emails to me rather than offer me relevant and contextual offers. #cringe

This morning I got my weekly email from TM Lewin showcasing their new range of casual shirts.  Now I love to play hard to get when it comes to marketing emails, probably because as a fellow marketer I’m less patient to poor experience – so for me to click through it really has to be relevant and interesting.  One particular shirt took my fancy, and so I clicked through to the site and contemplated adding it to basket.  I was on my iPhone and didn’t have a wallet to hand to make the purchase.  Later this evening I received the following email – I know what you’re thinking, nice shirt huh?:Image

I actually love the subject line – well yes you can tempt me back as I really like this shirt.  I specifically clicked through on this shirt this morning and I now want to buy it even more.  Well done TM Lewin, brilliant use of big data – one impressed customer! #smile

Now there may be some who question or have a problem with the use of their personal data, but I believe that more people will come around as they have better experiences of it – the more relevant, timely, contextual and engaging the message is, the less consumers will resent it.

The only downside of ‘big data’ for marketers is that you are constantly bombarded with display/remarketing adverts for your own products.  We spend so much time on our own sites, testing and looking to make improvements to user journeys and user experience – if only there were a way to prevent it.  I love big data and it’s potential to make consumers smile – but sometimes it’s true what they say, less is more!