Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Moving hosts

We're moving. The ThinkNick blog is now on the Neon Nelly site at, and that's where new posts will go. If you have been following us here, then thank you, and hope to see you in the new place soon.

picture: alleenski

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Journey planning

A little research in recent days has unearthed some fantastic ideas and examples of where we could take data-driven personalisation. Most of the ideas are from the US, but there are some in Hong Kong and Australia too - here's one of them from Eliot Harper. I would love to bring them to the UK. At the moment, some of the ideas are so far ahead of our practice in this country, that they'd be seen as gimmicks with no possible application by almost everyone. And that 'almost' is the encouraging part, because there are a couple of clients and agencies here that do understand. It's good to see that there is a pathway to the future.

picture: Jan Tik

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Taking a stand

Watching - and sharing - the anger at the abuse of privilege shown by the UK's MPs, it's remarkable how much time it's taken for any of the main party leaders to take a credible position. Today, as the second set of details of his members' expenses are made public, the leader of the opposition has declared that he will consider imposing penalties on his party. Meanwhile the Prime Minister has finally managed to say sorry, but has made no public statement about restitution or punishment.

At the moment, the leadership opportunity is to mitigate and minimise damage. Whilst Gordon Brown lurks, not just his party's, but parliament's reputation continues to freefall.

picture: OakleyOriginals

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Glazing over

Third call today from Everest, telling me that 'they are in my area' and offering an appointment. Fair enough, I did get a quotation from them some months ago. Unfairly, I've asked them each time not to call me again. Today, they say 'oh we have more than one list, so we can only take you off one list at a time'. Tried to point out that this is at best a mis-reading of current law, asked to speak to a supervisor, all the usual stuff. They are not listening. They (and note how I've already objectified the company as some kind of personal enemy) are not prepared to accept my feedback or my request, and that means I'm going to look for other ways to tell the story. Everest, there is a better way of doing this, and you could start with your permission policies and codes of practice.


Friday, 1 May 2009


Two pieces of news, next to each other in the same newsletter: one talks about a rise in the number of complaints from consumers about direct mail, and database companies; the other is the launch of a new data management service aimed at 'data novices'. It's worse than ironic. How do we get in front of the data novices to make sure they don't create even more complaints from inappropriate, or even illegal use of data? The best service we can offer the novice is education and skill. It's not just cheaper than a new database tool, it's much more cost-effective, and a lot less risky.

picture: Andrew Currie

Friday, 17 April 2009

Time warp

There's an interesting exchange going on at LinkedIn about one-to-one personalised marketing.

This is the line from one of the US contributors that rocked me back in my chair:

"About 4 yrs ago I worked at a DM agency and every campaign included a personalized VDP print DMailing, a minisite with a trackable specific URL, followed by an eblast and finally another call to action printed 4pg brochure drawing them back to the website to buy the products.

I am now starting my own business and without even giving it any thought this is exactly my marketing plan...of course scaled down."

And here I am in the UK looking at a grand total of 4 published case studies of work that looks like this - one of which, by the way, increased marketing ROI by more than 500%, and generated £1m in incremental profit, and won awards - and talking to lots of people who think it's a good idea but aren't doing it yet.

It's time to catch up, there's money to be made out there ...

picture: greenishseal

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

What is direct marketing?

I am a big fan of Wikipedia, and of the thinking and spirit behind its invention. I've seen claims that Wikipedia is just as 'accurate' as some of the big encyclopedias. In a world where many students now equate 'research' with 'google', it's a popular resource.

So I wondered what a 'googler' would find if they looked for a definition of direct marketing. I read the Wikipedia entry with dismay. I read the comments behind the page as well, and was relieved to find I wasn't the only person who thought it a million miles off the mark.

Who in the commercial world feels they have a responsibility to the world of collaborative 'free to air' knowledge sharing? It is a little scary - and embarrassing - to think that such a partial and misleading description of our world is still out there, waiting for one of us to put it right.

picture: Wikipedia