Disruption as a phrase is used so regularly but in your mind, what does disruption actually mean to you? 

Disruption is actually a negative word that means ‘disturbance’ or ‘interruption’.  However, according to a Bob Hoffman post in December 2016, ‘Disruption is not a strategy, it’s an outcome’. The marketing industry often uses the term incorrectly. We will try to disrupt a category using a new piece of technology without understanding the insight behind a particular behaviour.

The question we should be asking ourselves is: “Does the new technology help or hinder the market?”

If it helps, then the technology may fall under an ‘efficiency’ strategy where disruption becomes outcome.

Disruption will be the theme for your keynote address at the Marketing Mix Marketing Disruption conference in March. If I am attending the conference, what will you be speaking about? 

I will talk about how cost cutting has a negative effect on innovation. I will also cover how digital disruption is not necessarily good for the industry. We all think technology is the driver for change when in fact we are the drivers of change. I will also touch on new models to keep us ahead in the next 12 months: How does smart-centralization, asset management and metrics play a role in delivering brand growth?

How is digital advertising being disrupted internally today, having been broadly the disrupter before? 

Quite simply, it is a shiny, twinkly thing that has let us down. Digital marketing has a poor record in brand building, saliency and engagement. We need to admit to ourselves that we were romanced by Google and Facebook to such an extent that we have become part of the problem. We’ve forgotten how to understand human truths because we think in digital worlds.

What unique and positive attributes do traditional forms of advertising have going for it that digital does not?  

Broadcast media reaches category audiences, whereas digital media reaches brand and creative audiences.

We now know that brands grow by driving penetration among light users. You can’t target light users online because you don’t know enough about them – which is why they are light users. But, broadcast media targets category audiences who are full of light users.

Do you think too many marketers put too much emphasis on reaching younger audiences to the detriment of older audiences who arguably have greater spending power? 

It’s not that they place too much emphasis on younger audiences, it’s that they misinterpret facts because they don’t understand the make-up of these audiences.

For example, millennials are not young any more. Many marketers still consider millennials as ‘youth’. If 35 is considered youth then maybe a 25 year can be considered a toddler?