Interviewing the Interviewers: Samuel Scott

One of the privileges and joys of journalism is meeting and interviewing truly inspirational people.  The new digital age has meant this privilege has now opened up beyond professional journalists, with some of the most thought-provoking interviews now conducted by numerous industry thought leaders in addition to our most respected journalists.

In NDA’s Interviewing the Interviewers series, we caught up with some of the best interviewers in our industry, from journalists to independent content creators, turning the tables to find out what makes them tick.

Samuel Scott is a former editor and marketing director. Now a professional speaker, he writes an incredibly popular column for The Drum, often providing a much-needed dose of realism to cut through industry hype.

What is your biggest hope and your biggest fear for the digital industry in 2019?

My biggest hope is that marketers will forget about being digital-only or digital-first and finally admit that the internet is good at some things but terrible at others. My biggest fear is that this will not happen.

What was your biggest personal industry highlight of 2018?

You’re asking about me? Well, as a rule, journalists hate to talk about themselves — and I’m no exception. As long as I can continue to speak and write for a living, I’m happy.

Who was the most inspirational person you interviewed in 2018 and why?

It’s always Bob Hoffman. He was one of the first — if not the first — to call out bullshit and hypocrisy in the marketing industry.

What one technology are you most excited about this year and why?

Any technology that will block online tracking, adtech, marketing surveillance, personal data collection, and website scripts.

What was your favourite ad or digital experience of 2018?

The John Lewis Christmas ad with Elton John. Brilliant.

What is the buzzword or phrase you’d like to ban forever?

“Content.” It’s a word that means nothing precise, specific, or useful.

Who’s the one industry figure you’d most like to interview you yet haven’t?

I would love to have been able to ask David Ogilvy or Lester Wunderman what they think of direct marketing online today. Among the living, I want to ask Mark Zuckerberg how he sleeps at night.

How could someone persuade you to interview them and what would put you off completely?

It always helps to offer a juicy exclusive. It always hurts to ask for a backlink to help their SEO.

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