Jonathan MacDonald Technology for Marketing
NAYOKA OWARE [00:00:13] Hello and welcome back to day two of Technology for Marketing. I’m your host, Nayoka Oware hosting for Disruptive Live and I’m here with my first guest, Jonathan MacDonald. Hello Jonathan. So Jonathan you’re an author, a speaker and an advisor can you tell me more about the advising part who do you advise, like huge organizations.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:00:37] Yeah, for the last three decades I’ve advised companies that now are huge, but then weren’t so huge so when I first started helping Apple, they were in the dumps. Basically, when I first started helping somebody, guys at Google, there biggest problem was spreading the word about Google’s technologies. When I was helping Ministry of Sound, it was kind of like it was a ropey area before they’d really digitized themselves. So I tend to for some reason get asked to help companies when they’re before they are really at the top of their curve.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:01:11] Do you ever mention that during any conversation are you like, oh, I’ve worked for Google, I’ve worked for this organization.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:01:17] Oh the whole name drop thing. Sometimes, but only because otherwise people don’t know that you have any credentials. So but I try not to drop names. The best way of marketing anyone’s self is by testimonials. So rather than speaking about yourself, it’s better other people to speak about you.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:01:31] Absolutely. Or you can create a few fake profiles and write some testimonials yourself I know people who do stuff like that. We can talk about that later. Let’s talk about what the topics we think are on everyone’s mind right here in this room.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:01:46] You know what, I think the GDPR legislation has been a massive kick in the pants for all the companies here. There is a when I hear the word marketing and technology or technology in marketing in any order. I hear privacy. I hear permission. I hear preference. And I think that companies that are talking about engagement and transparency and everything mean behind the scenes. How can we enable trust to be established? In a world where, frankly, a lot of advertising and marketing for the last hundred years is based on deceit and persuasion and toleration, whereas now toleration isn’t good enough. The fact that people tolerate advertising is not going to cut it. In a world where actually we can add so much more value to people by connecting them to the products and services they could use. So but then there’s this legislation, a regulation that comes along that basically says you can’t just spam people, you can’t just send information to people. You need to actually ask their permission first they need to know where their information is kept. How they can get to it. What is stored and I think that’s more the merrier, I think I think within that regulation, we can still innovate.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:03:03] What exactly are they hiding, can you tell us.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:03:06] What are they hiding? What are they hiding? You know, there are some companies that no one, of course, who has been on this show because I think anyone who’s been on the show is awesome. But I think there are companies that would prefer to bend the rules slightly and kind of try and get access to information that isn’t necessarily totally kosher. What I love about companies like, for instance. We had Lead Forensics was on and people like Akeneo who were looking at optimizing information to make it more useful. I think that’s correct. I think making things more valuable for users is is is the way forward. If we start at the user backwards rather than the company forward, then then we all win.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:03:52] Absolutely without users and consumers you have nothing. Your organization will fail. Who would you say should be here but isn’t here.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:04:01] Well, it’s interesting that Google aren’t really very present. It’s interesting that other companies like Microsoft aren’t neccessarily present. There is a lot of. There’s a lot of interesting omissions in terms of the largest players who possibly think they don’t need to be here. The question is why? Maybe it wouldn’t generate them more business than they already can have. But what I love about these events is that when the industry is in one place or a lot of the industry is in one place, then collaboration opportunities exist. And and so, you know, I I think that even if it is not for business generation in terms of networking and enabling people to put names to faces, it’s a great thing. It’s a one day or two days out of your life and pressing the flesh, meeting people, getting away from our screens and looking at countless emails and actually physically seeing people eye to eye, I think is a great thing.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:05:00] Wonderful. Earlier on you were talking about risks. Big risk. Can you elaborate on that some more.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:05:04] I think personally my my view about companies over time is that one of the greatest ways of innovating is by looking at where the risks of disruption are. And so if we if you think about the tobacco companies, they didn’t see the electronic cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes came along and disrupted the tobacco companies. Now, electronic cigarettes has been disrupted again. And so in technology and marketing environments. Looking at where the risks will come from next is the is where I think the greatest growth comes from. And so one risk, for instance, is in artificial intelligence where it removes the means for humans to be involved. And whereas actually, I believe that marketing and engagement in terms of consumer touch points. Includes a need for the softer skills, the more emotional intelligence, which I think is what humans have innately, and I am an advocate of bringing more humans into technology rather than getting rid of humans by technology.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:06:08] Without the gift of foresight, how do you identify what the future risks are in technology?
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:06:14] Well, I think you can imagine scenarios. I always wonder about kind of like a grid of different, a spectrum of scenarios. And so none of us none of us really are thought leaders in terms of seeing the future, because I have always said if someone can predict the future, go buy a lottery ticket. Tell me how it goes. That’s my view. So but on a spectrum of what scenarios look like there could be a future that is super, super, super automated with no humans. There could be another future where there is kind of like more artisan one on one personal approaches. And I think we could prepare for either end of the spectrum and kind of hedge our bets. But it’s maybe about positioning our companies in the direction that we believe we stand for in our hearts. And that would be the way to go forward with purpose.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:07:03] That’s a great answer.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:07:03] Thank you.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:07:04] What would you say the future of technology looks like?
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:07:07] What I think the future technology looks like is I think we are the world of machine learning, AI and automation, the smart contract and everything is going to open up an entire new bandwidth of how we how we operate. But my view is that it’s going to be a quantum quantum computing bio photon light memory. I don’t think we’ve scratched the surface of what happens with the science and the very small quantum. And so when when the companies in this room in five years time are all talking about quantum computing. Mark my words. By 2024, 2025, then I think we’ll see the advent of a new a new way of technology seaming and everything here will seem slow.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:07:58] We’ll see, we’ll have to wait and see.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:07:58] Let’s see, Let’s see
NAYOKA OWARE [00:08:02] And lastly, Jonathan, do you think that events like this help the industry move forward?
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:08:08] I really, genuinely do. I think no one knows as much as everyone putting people in the same place at the same time is the reason why we’ve innovated throughout the history of time. Humans collectively discussing ideas. I’m massively honoured to be part of it. I love the fact that I’m able to be on here with you and also do some interviewing and stuff. Although I’m not actually as skilled as you are at it I’m learning.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:08:32] Oh that’s not true.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:08:33] No you’re awesome I watched you all the way through yesterday. But yes, I think these events are great. And I’m just so happy that we’ve got such brilliant guests coming on. Thank you for asking me some questions. I really appreciate it.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:08:42] You’re absolutely welcome. Absolutely welcome. Thank you so much for your time Jonathan, it’s been an absolute pleasure speaking to you and I hope to catch up with you soon.
JONATHAN MACDONALD [00:08:49] Yes, in a second.
NAYOKA OWARE [00:08:51] Thank you so much for watching. You can join the conversation by using the hashtag TFM 19 hashtag Disruptive Live. We will be back shortly.