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This blog is moving, please join me on the other side


My lovely company, Wild Orange Media, is almost two years old, so we’ve had a bit of a revamp and have being tying up some loose ends.

I’ve been blogging across various platforms since 2003 but this is the last post I’ll be making to this personal site. From tomorrow, all new posts will be landing on our shiny, new self-hosted site at



If you follow this blog on the website or through WordPress Reader or an RSS reader like Feedly or Digg Reader, you’ll need to update your reader subscription so it points to

If, however, you have subscribed to receive email updates from this blog, you’re all set to go. We’ll automatically transfer your subscription over to the new site so your emails will continue like magic!

Thanks for your support over the years, see you on the other side!

The Basic Data Capture Mistake Almost Every Marketer Makes

As marketers, we know a large part of our job is to collect as much data about customers and prospects as possible. Feeding the database gives us leads to qualify and valuable data to mine.

So it makes perfect sense when we have something of value to these people—like some great content or special offers—that we should make them jump through a few data hoops before we let them at it. The least they could do is share their name, email, and maybe some lifestyle interests so we can contact them again in future. Isn’t it?

No! It turns out this is actually one of the worst things most marketers do online.

Next time you have something that other people would like to access, try this for a change:

Give it to them. Just let them have it. No forms to fill, no data to share. Just instant, free access to the content they desire.

But here’s the kicker. If they like what you gave them, now is the perfect time to ask them to do you a favour in return. Perhaps they could give you just a few pieces of contact information so you can stay in touch and share more great content like this in future.

You see, people who have just been given something are much more likely to give something in return. It’s called reciprocity, that sense of indebtedness that is hard-wired into human behaviour.

I-doubled-my-data-badgeAnd in tests, flipping the online data collection to take place after the gift is received allows marketers to capture twice as much data as before. Yes, that’s double the data for no extra effort.

Not only that, but it’s often better quality data too. The tyre kickers and time wasters have got what they wanted and are unlikely to want to stay in touch. But the people who really appreciate your content, who know that it can bring value into to their lives, have everything to gain by sharing their contact details.

But don’t just take my word for it. Put it to the test. Flip that data collection page in your website, or trial the alternatives alongside each other in an A/B test. If your website visitors are anything like every test sample I’ve ever encountered, you’ll soon see you data counts and quality climbing.

I know it feels counter-intuitive but, honestly, this really works.

Now, stop thinking about it. Go put it to the test!

Visualise Anything – This Is the Average Man’s Body

Technology is so powerful these days we can visualise almost anything we can imagine.

But data visualisations don’t have to be dull. Pie charts, graphs and flow diagrams all have an important role to play, but sometimes a picture truly does paint a thousand words.


That’s why I love this article from The Atlantic. From readily available BMI (body mass index) data, graphic artist Nickolay Lamm has rendered visual representations of the average man living today in the USA, Japan, Netherlands and France.

The results aren’t exactly a beauty pageant (get to the gym Mr USA!) , but they do instantly show how geographically dispersed societies create humans with noticeably different physiological characteristics.

And those differences would be so starkly brought to our comprehension without such clever visualisation skills.

What data do you hold that could be visualised to bring a story to life online?

Digital Marketing Personality of the Year

BOC Digital Marketing Personality of the Year 2013 AwardWell, this is an honour! I am delighted to have been named Digital Marketing Personality of the Year in the BOC Global Events Innovative Marketing Awards 2013.

My thanks go to the judges for momentarily losing their senses and picking me, and to BOC Global Events for nominating me. I received my award at a special dinner last week where I also enjoyed meeting some very interesting people. More on that later, but for now I need to get back to polishing my trophy!

More details:

The BOC Global Events & Training Group hosted its annual Innovative Marketing & PR Awards on 20 June 2013 at The Guomon Charing Cross Hotel in London. The awards shine a spotlight on home-grown talents as well as innovators further afield in some of the major emerging economies where innovation takes a completely different form. The awards ceremony brought together some of the most brilliant and crazy pioneers from around the globe under one roof.

Award Judges:

  • David Green, Head of Global Digital Marketing for KPMG
  • Doug Dawson, VP Media Relations at Nokia
  • Antony Mayfield, Founding Partner at Brilliant Noise
  • David Worthington, chairman of Holmes & Marchant and Lloyd Northover at MSQ Partners
  • David Keene, Google’s Head of Enterprise Marketing
  • Stuart Bruce, PR Guru at Stuart Bruce Associates

Digital Marketing Investments Set To Rise in 2013

Digital marketers should take heart from new data from Gartner that suggest investment levels in digital marketing at large companies are likely to increase across many disciplines in 2013.

No surprise, social media is the area where most companies plan to increase their investment, with mobile apps close behind.

Tablets apps look set to receive first time investment from 17% of the firms surveyed, while email marketing continues to feel the squeeze with 7% of companies set to reduce investment levels.

Once again, analytics seems to be a little out of favour, despite being arguably the weakest link in many companies’ digital marketing efforts. I wonder if this is a function of the sampling methodology and the perennially dull image of the analytics field?


As Gartner rightly points out, these data come from a relatively small sample size and represent nothing more than a snapshot in time. But how do these findings compare to your own expectations? Is this a time for digital marketers to feel bullish or bearish?

Breaking News – Some People Don’t Own A Tablet

[I originally wrote this article for Silicon Beach 2012; this is the first time it has appeared online]

BreakingNewsThis is an extraordinary time to be in business. The economy is all over the place, international trade is threatened by collapsing currencies and we’re constantly bombarded with new technology inventions that promise to improve our lives. Despite everything that the financial meltdown has thrown at us few who have worked through the last decade would deny how positively transformative technology has been.

You could even be forgiven for lusting after the latest new shiny object or Web 4.0 application and all that it promises. Yet all around you a very different scene is playing out. While you camp outside your local gadget store to get your hands on the hottest new tablet or phone, most of the rest of the world remains blissfully unaffected. According to data from the National Readership Survey, fewer than 1 in 6 (15%) adults own either a tablet device or an e-reader. And a tiny 1.4%, like me and you, own both. For most, a tablet is something the doctor prescribes. Even with smartphones or HTML5 enabled browsers or Pinterest or whatever… experiencing remarkable growth, most of these remain the playthings of the privileged few.

It’s easy to forget this when you’re busy keeping the new technology hamster wheel spinning. You might feel mild embarrassment that your 6 month old smartphone only sports 13 megapixels. Meanwhile the person sitting next to you on the bus carries their 2003 Nokia feature phone only ‘in case of emergencies,’ presumably something along the lines of a power cut or Tesco running out of frozen peas.

If you work in marketing you’d be well-advised to keep your feet firmly on the ground. By all means treat yourself to some hot new gadgetry and be sure to show it off to anyone who will listen, but don’t fall into the trap of imagining that your life has anything in common with that of your customers. If you do, you may soon be committing the worst of marketing crimes: creating campaigns in your own image, not in those of your target audience.

I’m not advocating that we all stop building sites that render beautifully on any device using responsive HTML5 or that we abandon our mobile marketing plan in what must surely now be “The Year of Mobile”. Do those things by all means—our industry progress depends on them—but also keep evaluating the merits of marketing campaigns that appeal to those segments of our population who remain largely untouched by technological change. That means TV and radio advertising, good old fashioned PR and—please forgive me my digital masters—direct mail marketing. For many businesses these techniques still work wonders, helping brands reach a richer vein of customers in ways that connect meaningfully with their everyday lives.

These traditional routes to market may have lost some of their earlier potency but knowing how to integrate them with your wider digital marketing plan is now a critical skill for marketers during these times of unprecedented flux. Just as we do with the gadgets in our pockets, the world’s very best marketers regularly make wise decisions about which new channels to adopt and which to surrender. As our world continues its slow evolution from analogue to digital, marketers who want to make themselves truly future-ready would do well to keep one eye on the past.

[to see my talk at Silicon Beach in October 2012, click here]

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