Daily Archives: Friday, May 1, 2009

Is digital in the USA more advanced than the UK?

Just back from a trip stateside (bimonthly visit to our New York office) and while crunched up in my economy seat I began to ponder over the transfer of skills between the US and UK, which has always been a hot topic for me. While reflecting on the debate about whether the two markets were ready to benefit from each other’s styles, particularly within e-commerce I concluded that the big difference is that Americans generally think differently and expect a different type of advertising and marketing to Europeans and this is apparent in their respective approaches to digital. The most obvious driver for this is the sheer size and disparate nature of America, which goes some way to explaining the brash nature – at least by European standards – of their marketing style.

This difference in styles – the real difference in terms of skills, is that the US suffers from a shortage of what I believe is good creative talent whereas the UK has fewer outstanding digital strategists, marketers, optimisers, researchers or analysts. It is common knowledge that the US is at least a year or so ahead in these areas and much more advanced in techniques such as multi-variant testing, data analytics, information mining and ECRM – all things your average ecommerce marketing director barely implements in the UK.

On top of this, Americans in general have a much more “online” mentality, they are far more plugged in to technology and proud of it, and this tends to be reflected in the fact that their technical development skill sets are much more advanced than ours. Many of the cutting-edge concepts like Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 were born in the US. Indeed the current thought is that the future of the web will be about apps living online, and the US is way ahead in this area. Their skills base (in terms of creating user interfaces that cross from desktop to online and working in environments such as Adobe Air & Flex) are beyond anything we are producing in Europe.

I think it’s time to admit that we can learn a lot from our cousins Stateside (and vice versa), specifically within the ecommerce arena, and start pooling our resources. Now’s not the time for being coy.

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Please behave

A few weeks ago I highlighted the need for both the consumer and the advertising industry to embrace behavioural targeting – in a climate where both consumers and advertisers are becoming increasingly frugal and many want to seemore with lessit really does have a future.

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Bristol street art

Hats off to Justin Staple who has just launched a fantastic new website showcasing Bristol’s street artists www.bristol-street-art.co.uk

If you’ve got a spare 5 minutes I thoroughly recommend you take a look. Justin’s done a great job – the Google maps integration is a particularly nice touch.

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