Je me révolte, donc je suis (or Things What I Done Learned 5)

by sarahtwonames

What? You thought that I’d totally forgotten about my French degree in amongst all this marketing malarkey? Not on your nelly! That there frog-speak is a quote from Albert Camus playing on Déscartes’ cogito ergo sum: I revolt, therefore I am.

Cartesian philosophy aside, I assure you it is an appropriate citation as the theme of Squared’s fifth and final module was “The Ongoing Revolution”. The unit covered the diverse topics of ethics, the digital future, and change management within organisations.


A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.”- Albert Camus

The most useful definition of this in terms of marketing is this: it’s doing the right thing when no-one’s looking. Businesses need to value the integrity of customers, play fair with them, and work out how much they need to know (using the old commercial benefit vs playing fair analysis).

Should marketers have an ethics fail, they will either incur the wrath of the Advertising Standards Authority or the Information Commissioner’s Office. The ASA happens when ads screw-up on any of these fronts: legality, decency, honesty, or truthfulness.  The ICO deals with the topic du jour – data privacy. In a marketing sense data is it is all the info that is held about you, wherever it is held.  Data privacy is key for businesses as their track record in this area has a direct impact on consumer confidence. Just look at what Edward Snowdon has done to our views on the NSA, the CIA, the American government, our own government, Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft…

The Digital Future

We were treated to some digital punditry, so according to the tutors at Squared, the next “Big Things” are:

“The un-boxing of the TV” – the continuing rise of video on demand, the growth of smart tv ownership resulting in more interactive and immersive tv (this can also be achieved by exploiting the dual-screening phenomenon), and addressable advertising. In a nutshell, this is where companies start using viewer demographics to target adverts based on what sort of TV programmes you watch. It’s that whole data and ROI thing.

The collaborative economy – an example of this is giffgaff. I failed to follow this concept properly, but pretty pictures make everything better:

The Collaborative Economy

Real-time – In terms of data this will allow brands, companies etc to react quickly to their consumers, enable them to act organically (as opposed to having to follow a set strategy), and engage with micro-trends. On the technology side, real time bidding is increasing.

Content curation – think Pinterest. It is “the act of discovering, gathering, and presenting digital content that surrounds a specific subject matter”. Given that content creation is one of marketing’s buzzwords at the moment, there is a school of thought that soon the consumer’s finite attention span will be banjaxed by the veritable ocean of content. Curation is a way of avoiding this meltdown, whilst still being able to present yourself as an authority, and thus inspire consumer confidence.

The Internet of Things (IoT) – not just a tweeting fridge (or a tweeting bra for that matter). According to Kevin Ashton, this is “where the Internet is connected to the physical world via multitude of sensors”. IoT will allow things like presence-based advertising and turning your home into a light show.

These insights were fascinating, but given digital’s capacity for epic disruption, I can’t help but wonder if something else is going to come careering onto the scene. Rather like Google did.

Change Management

This was about being an agent of change within your business or organisation, and generally becoming your company’s digital Messiah (I don’t think Sunday school covered this). Great if you’re employed, less so if you’re not. But, it has given me great advice for the future. In order to “push a digital agenda” (this turn of phrase implies more Machiavellian tendencies than I actually have) you need to be prepared to counter the incumbent company culture, think outside the binary box, and have a network of people on your side.

For a less cack-handed version of this, I recommend you check Neil Perkin out here and here, and Zella King here.

So there you have it

The final module over, my brain now brimming with knowledge, ready to attack the job market with renewed zeal (and a truck-load more direction).

Fear not dear reader, this is not the end of our affair.