the benefits of slow research

A little while ago I was invited to the launch event of boutique research agency Qual Street’s ‘Year in the life’ project. This was a year-long proactive piece of qualitative work where they spent lots of time with nine mums across London and Yorkshire who identified themselves as just about managing financially (JAM). With the […]
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Why agency projects need Agile research – and why that’s really hard to achieve

I was talking to a senior researcher who works for a research agency recently about how long research projects take from brief to debrief and how that doesn’t sit well with marketing agencies and clients increasingly working in agile, or at least agile-ish. When the project is in a constant state of flux, timelines are tight […]
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Training the future

My last post Where have all the Planners gone? about the lack of trained Junior and Midweight Planners round here (due to the lack of available training and opportunities for them) resonated with a few people Up North, particularly former Planner Chris McCash, now of Breadwinner. He offered to host a Planning get-together in Leeds to […]
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Where have all the Planners gone?

Up here in Yorkshire, there’s loads of roles going at Senior / Midweight Planner level, but no-one to fill them. I’ve had many conversations recently with recruiters and agencies about this, but the reason is obvious really – no-one trained them. With the exception of Sarah at Home and Joey at CreativeRace / Intermarketing, as […]
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Want better diversity? Embrace the Power Part-Timers

I’ve blogged before about how marketing agencies are very light on diversity, particularly in senior positions. I’ve also blogged about why agencies should be embracing #PowerPartTimers. But the two rants are connected. An agency-standard 50 hour week plus nightmare commute simply isn’t do-able for many Mums, for the carers of elderly parents or for the […]
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for Planners, gut instinct matters however experienced you are

When meeting prospective Planners, I always try to find out if their brains are wired the right way to be a great Planner – are they interested in what makes people tick, problem solving, investigation and communication? Do they appreciate the link between brand comms and the bottom line? And perhaps most importantly, have they […]
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creative marketing communications is not a commodity to be project managed

In the age of Prince2, Basecamp, Slack, Trello and so on, the client facing role in agencies is increasingly merging with that of Project Manager. Clients are emailed, not called. Work is briefed, reviewed and presented back with minimal (actual) face time. Now this might be very handy if you’re in Leeds and your biggest […]
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Marketing, your #TimesUp

The advertising industry last week joined the #TimesUp movement with #TimesUpAdvertising. I’d respectfully suggest that it should read #TimesUpMarketingAgenciesAndTheirClients. Over the last 19 years (!) I’ve worked for four different marketing agencies and freelanced for many more and I’ve ended up with a love-hate relationship with the marketing industry. I love the speed at which […]
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Planning is changing, fast

I work for an agency that is very, very excited about the way that data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence are going to significantly change marketing, not least because all of the above will free us to spend less time knee deep in spreadsheets and Google Analytics and more time thinking (and in the […]
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on content creation and consumption

I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about content creation recently. This great article from GQ (via @storythings) covers the disruption at both ends of the film and TV industry – there are umpteen platforms offering original content now, including YouTube Red, Crackle, Apple Music, Netflix, Facebook’s recent push into original content and in the […]
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