Digital strategy resources

I’m often asked what I read to keep up to date. So here’s a list of resources I regularly use and people I follow on Twitter. It goes alongside the best email lists that I subscribe to.

Ofcom Communication Market Reports

Ofcom’s Communication Market Reports, out annually, are a treasure trove of useful and credible data on UK consumers.  They also do a lot of other good research, particularly on  telco and media.

Use of major Google services from Ofcom 2017.
Use of major Google services from Ofcom 2017.

We Are Social trends

We Are Social’s trends and statistics decks are a  fast way to grab international comparisons. Look here for things like the number of people using Facebook in India versus Indonesia. As ever check you are comfortable with the sources before using.

The Made to Stick Blog

Chip & Dan Heath’s Made to Stick is a highly readable book about making memorable ideas. They explain their SUCCESs model for stickiness here.

Think with Google resources

Google Think is vastly ahead of their competitors in producing useful research. Unsurprisingly it’s largely based on substantive original data, often from the backend of Google products. Their Tools section is particularly useful with resources on data sources, emerging technologies and consumer insights.

Twitter have also recently released a useful set of resources for agencies.

Mary Meeker’s internet trends

Mary Meeker’s internet trends deck is read by most of the digital industry. It’s not quite as useful as it once was, but it is still unmissable. It is horribly ugly, and absurdly long, but always full of surprising insights and data.

Ogilvy Trends

My former colleagues Marshall Manson and James Whatley have been doing an annual trends deck for a few years now. It’s focused on a few big trends each year. Last year they focused on chatbots, ethics, video , Twitter’s troubles and Facebook’s metrics problem. And they now mark their own homework from previous years, which is fun to watch.

People I read almost everything by*

Alex Steer

The Chief Strategy Officer of Maxus has the best thought out views on measurement in the marketing industry.

Ian Leslie

Ian Leslie is a former advertising planner. Now working as a journalist doing for in-depth industry analysis that’s rarely found elsewhere.

War On The Rocks

Consistently War on the Rocks has great blogposts like this one on ‘thinking outside the box’. They come from a US military and national security perspective but with relevance to all sorts of challenges. The associated excellent Bombshell podcast by by Radha Iyengar, Loren D Schulman and Erin Simpson is one of my favourite podcasts.

Anjali Ramachandran

As well as being a top media strategist, Anjali founded Ada’s List – which works to get more women in tech. And she provides me with lots of South Asian knowledge that I’d miss out on otherwise.

Mark Ritson

Professor Ritson continues to entertain us with his smart analysis of bullshit in marketing. And admirably he regularly admits to being wrong.

Scott Galloway

Scott Galloway’s L2 consultancy has done a very successful job of producing league tables and case studies for everything from luxury handbags to soap powder. But he also does great analysis of how Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon are changing our world. He sometimes overstates certainty of his conclusions, but it’s hard to argue with most of his big picture.

Byron Sharp

Byron Sharp is infuriating and slightly trollish. But his work critiquing badly thought out marketing strategies is crucial, and anyone working in the industry needs to understand it – even if you don’t buy into all of his conclusions.

Rory Sutherland

Rory is not just one of the most entertaining people in the marketing world. He’s also a fount of smart ideas and challenges to the usual way of doing things.

Behaviour change on the South Bank
Behaviour change on the South Bank. Not quite enough provocation to be Rory Sutherland’s work but close.

Theo Bertram

Theo Bertram used to advise Blair and Brown. Now he does brilliant anecdotes about his time with them. Not just entertaining but also excellent instructions on the mechanics of messaging.

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Karin Robinson

Karin has been my deputy twice now. More importantly she is great on social data – for instance uncovering big holes in Twitter’s gender data. She has also been a leading light in Democrat’s Abroad for over 10 years so is excellent on political messaging, US politics generally and grassroots campaigning.

Richard Shotton

Richard tweets on behaviour change and marketing. His simple twist on most Twitter is to screengrab books he’s read. A small thing but it provides a bit more depth than a typical Twitter feed. His guest editing of the APG blog is a superb reading list on behaviour change.

Venkatash Rao

Venkatash Rao consistently raises difficult questions about technology with thoughtful answers and links to further reading.

Ali Goldsworthy

Ali is on the Board of the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, and knows a lot about smart philanthropy and targeted political spending. We sometimes write articles about how to win political campaigns.

Dennis Yu

Dennis is one of the most expert people in the world on how to target Facebook advertising. I work with him occasionally.

The Influence at Work team

Robert Cialdini and Steve Martin provide practical inspiration on how to use behaviour change science for good. Steve’s also been an occasional collaborator of mine and client. If you’ve not read their books, you should.

And lots of other resources

This list of other useful free resources from the Nextweb is worth a look.

Digiday constantly provides a good stream of interesting and useful news.

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*This excludes most of my political reading which is not really relevant to most readers of this blog. On politics I highly recommend market researchers like James Morris, Marcus Roberts, Ian Warren. And John Oliver and Trevor Noah do superb work making complex policy simple.