Meet our Managing Director – Digital and Data

Describe your career in five words.

Fast, lucky, fun, tech, learning.

With CSM’s recent acquisition of Greenroom Digital, you have now become Managing Director of our Digital and Data team. How exciting is it to formally be part of the CSM family and what do you hope to achieve in the years ahead?

We’re extremely excited to join the CSM family. Working with their various talented departments globally over the last 3.5 years enabled both parties to understand how we complement one another to deliver outstanding results for our partners across brands and sports organisations.

What we’d love to achieve is for the industry to fully understand how powerful sport is as a marketing channel, to bring more money into sport and create a sustainable ecosystem where everyone thrives from grassroots laddering up to the professional game. At the moment we are scratching the surface of the industry’s true commercial opportunity.

You’ve built a career in digital and performance marketing. When you reflect on the projects and campaigns you’ve been part of up until now, is there one in particular that stands out as a highlight? If so, why?

I think that is a tough question to answer as I worked with some unreal colleagues and brands but I’ve chosen two very different campaigns.

IBM Wimbledon Insights was built to showcase the launch of IBM Watson into the Enterprise sector; an AI led data decision application which creates efficiencies for businesses.

IBM used its partnership to showcase a new tool called Slam Tracker, which utilized data to make predictions on which player would win a match based on previous data points. It was built as a forward facing tool that audiences could play with to make predictions. The campaign was my first fully managed end-to-end delivery, including the overarching strategy across creative, content, retention, communication, amplification and data.  We won Gold at the DMA B2B Global Awards for best campaign and use of cutting edge tech to deliver this amazing project. Personally it gave me the confidence to kick my career on in the digital sector. I worked in finance for 12 years prior to marketing, so you never quite know how a career change will work out. Fortunately for me I never looked back.

The other one is the #againsttheodds campaign I worked on with William Hill leading up to the 2018 World Cup, and I choose that mainly for the hilarious content created.

Influencer Stevo The Madman was set several challenges in which he had to answer questions around England’s opposition in the group stages. The challenges included sumo wrestling, being thrown out of an aeroplane, a red arrows flight, bullfighting, being an Ice Hockey Goalie, Police Dog training and a few others. The North London Derby quiz, which was a test episode prior to releasing the World Cup content is my personal favorite. He had never done a skydive before and he had to do it seven times in one day to get the right shot! Brilliant campaign which again was fully integrated along the funnel and hugely successful.

It’s fair to say digital marketing has developed rapidly across the past two decades, now forming a critical part of the broader marketing mix. And, with the rise of the metaverse, NFT’s and Web3.0, its only going to become more important. If we fast forward ten years from now, what do you think the industry will look like, and what opportunities should brands be looking out for as this new technology is rolled out at scale?

Regardless of the technological advancements happening at the minute, I think brands working in the sports sector always need to ask themselves these questions:

  1. How will this tech enhance the fan experience
  2. How will this tech enable us to continually improve? Deepen relationships, broaden engagement, drive retention and ROI.
  3. What do we ultimately want to achieve and does it feed into our objectives

Technology evolves at a phenomenal rate, so its very hard to answer where we will be in 10 years. However, with advancements in Web 3.0 which encompasses 5G, IOT, Blockchain, machine learning, AI, AR, MR and VR, brands and sports organisation will be able to engage with audiences in a way we’ve never seen before, including immersive viewing experiences that bring fans closer to the stars and sports they love.

For all the excitement around these tech advances, though, there are still challenges which partners should be mindful of:

  • Scale – there are currently an estimated 106 million crypto users globally – a tiny percentage of the five billion people online
  • Interoperability – Web 3.0 isn’t standardized as of yet, so the big tech players are building what they think the industry will look like. This creates a barrier to entry for many and a hacked infrastructure as tech companies are having to retrofit their offering
  • Unregulated – this causes concern with users having NFT’s stolen and losing cryptocurrency.

With a decentralized Web, it should give more control to consumers and brands. Everything should ladder up to owning your environment, data and relationships with your customers. At present it feels very much like the dot-com bubble in the late 90’s where we saw unbelievable speculation which was driving up market caps across the tech industry sector until it burst. Only the strong survived, with huge consolidation. The likes of Microsoft, Amazon, Apple and Google emerged but several other companies went under. We need to be vigilant and ensure we carry out our due diligence

When not at work, what would we find you doing?

I recently got into golf after retiring from cricket and football… it’s fair to say I’m addicted. Not very good but addicted! I love live events be that sport or music, and I also travel lots around the world with my wife Chloe and our two year old boy Rudy, who of course is an Arsenal fan!