Clive Dickens: “Art And Science, The Combination Of Content And Data, That’s Where The Opportunity Is”

Clive Dickens: “Art And Science, The Combination Of Content And Data, That’s Where The Opportunity Is”

Yes, there are too many tech businesses peddling their wares to local businesses. Yes, a lot of what’s on offer is murkey at best and irrelevant at worst. And marketers need to use their smarts to find out what works and what doesn’t.

That’s the view of Clive Dickens, chief digital officer at Seven West Media, who spoke at B&T/Big Mobile’s inaugural Digital Exchange webinar yesterday. (Check out the full webinar featuring Pandora’s Jane Huxley, GroupM’s John Miskelly and Big Mobile’s Graham Christie here.)

For full details and registeration of the next webinar click here. (It’s completely free.)


Dickens (pictured above) agreed that many marketers had “become overwhelmed with the amount of information that is available to them” and that had created a “fear of the unknown” in terms of what marketing tech to invest in or trust into the future.

However, one place, he urged, to place your marketing bucks was definitely mobile.

“It’s the best of times for mobile, and we’ve all been working in mobile for a long time,” he said “There’s a little extract in that recent Steve Jobs movie where he says the power of a computer at the end of the brain, the human arm is almost unassailable and that was allegedly his vision for the iPhone. This idea of art and science, this combination of content and data is really where the opportunity is.

“For me it’s where you head towards and sometimes it’s numerical and science, when the best possible outcomes is this hybrid of both human and science,” Dickens said.

He added that Seven West Media were, foremost, a content company and regardless of what screen it was on it’s all about “how the technology connects with the story”.

Dickens added: “If you talk too much about the maths and the metrics and not enough about the storytelling medium, then we’re definitely  in a weaker spot.”

Seven’s top digital marketer agreed that Aussie marketers were being inundated with new tech offerings, many that could be described as “snake oil salesman”.

“Inside (Seven West Media) we have a bit of a process where we try and weed out these inbounds and that’s as simple as doing some cursory reading and checking what they are selling even before you take a call,” Dickens revealed.

“We then just do a Skype meeting only because that means within 10 minute you can realise if they’re doing something worthwhile.

“I arrived in Australia a couple of years ago and I’ve been fascinated by the way the Australian market is viewed by these international tech providers. We’re seen as having a very strong economy and, yes, I know we’ve had a very difficult last six to 12 months, but overall we’re seen as having a very strong economy and these tech firms try and target us, gouge us. Is it a case of gullibility (on the behalf of marketers)? I’m not sure, more so they love it here and want to sell stuff here.

“What (Australian) marketers can do and that’s go back to that old adage of (asking), ‘What part of my marketing is working?’ And that’s some of those classic marketer’s skills about what does your brand want to achieve?  What is the marketing solving? And it’s not about not getting completely overawed by the myriad of options that are presented to you and claim to be solution providers,” Dickens said.


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