Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

We’re now in the 20s, but let’s go back to basics

By Simon Akers, founder, Archmon

Just to set the scene up front, this comes from a good and hopefully informed place. I was honoured to guest lecture to 1st year Marketing & Advertising undergrads, and the loose brief for the session was to map experiences and work to the four Ps of marketing (for those who care / can’t recall;  Product, Price, Place and Promotion).

All screamingly obvious you say? But that’s what gave me pause.

While presenting to these young and enthused minds (reminder: the key holders and the future of our sector and workforce) I reconnected with the basics and realised how far removed, inward facing and at times self-satisfied our industry has become. We have become so over complicated. 

Indeed, we are heading into the 20s, but it is all getting a little tiring isn’t it? Therefore, I’m going to quickly list the things that are so ridiculous, irritating and removed from why we actually do what we do. However I like to balance this with opportunities/solutions.

Some initial 21st century gripes:


We typically favour short-term commercial interest over genuine long-term partnership and growth for clients. I’m not sure whether this stems from agencyland’s fear, clients’ shareholder interests or demanding investors on the sell side.

Regardless short-termism is killing the art of building brand equity through advertising and marketing in favour of quick wins, automation and peppering consumers cross channel with the ad of a shoe or plant you looked a yesterday.


We’ve become so obsessed with sector group-speak, the smug new lexicon to enable each other to laud our collective egos. Personalization, AI-Driven and Machine Learning platforms – what is this nonsense? Indeed it is VC word porn to arouse seed investors, but for the majority of marketers, cognisant as they may be on such matters, these benefits are immaterial.

The overcomplication of language surely a way to ensure those within the cohort can talk in a superior manner, like any ‘specialism’. Don’t worry guys, you can still sound smart by speaking plainly! It’s the analogy of ‘you don’t buy the drill, you buy the hole, for the shelf, for the nice room’. Nobody cares about the spec or the mechanics of the drill. Let’s get the room nice!


Revisiting the shoe, I was looking at a few. There’s these retro ones I fancy in the Jan sales, but hell the retailer won’t let it lie, surprised they’re not retargeting my own shoe rack for a native placement!

Like most, I can’t overly-care about privacy given my plentiful online activity; I know the value exchange, but give me something new! A new pair that I may like based on my interests, would be a lot more, well, interesting.

To top it off, you get an email titled, [firstName], claim your 20% off with code LAZYTARGETING or whatever. Personalise comms if possible at the very least.

However, as promised – I propose solutions, not just problems!


‘We drill to help you build a beautiful home’ is so much more interesting than the spec of the drill; rotating mechanics and what voltage lies in the circuits. Let the 20s be a decade of simplicity, giving people what they want and speaking clearly.


CHROME & ITP. Digital’s own Project Fear. Calm down – it’ll be fine. No doubt the farming hands in the 1830s were royally pissed off when their boss brought in the new mechanised combine harvester to replace their manual tools.

Respectfully, impending changes for cookies re: measurement and remarketing aren’t quite as dramatic. Surely we are dextrous enough with our tech prowess to adapt?

There may be a short-term sales drop off – again that’s only an issue if your targets are also short term. We have built superb solutions, and the winners are those who adapt to market by continually developing products to satisfy  both client need and regulation.


Creativity is lost in the buzz of tech. Nobody cares how clever the algorithm is that serves them a poorly presented ad copy, much like I don’t care if the restaurant uses the most expensive cooking utensils and technology if the food tastes crap.

Everyone remembers the FCK ad last year when KFC owned their supply-chain gaffe, nobody cares whether it was served programmatically in a 9:16 or 1:1.


…or more specifically, business outcomes. Identify how your product maps to that outcome. Marketers want the nice house, let alone the shelf and the hole.

Focus on the outcome. No plug, but I’m proud to have founded a marketing consultancy and unique model for the future which focusses on business goals, working plan of action back from that exacting desired outcome.

Shouldn’t business be this simple? I say so.

No machine learning or AI-driven personalisation contributed to authoring of this article.