5 minutes with Mark Davies
Name: Mark Davies
Job title: Managing Director
Organisation: Whistl (Doordrop Media) Ltd
How did you get your current job / how long have you worked in your current role?
I worked in the travel industry for 10 years which in my twenties was fantastic. I worked primarily with a US audience and lived on both coasts and in Barcelona and Amsterdam for a few years. Then in 2000 I got married and this meant I wanted to move back to England and travel less. Then in 2001 9/11 happened and this meant Americans wanted to travel less. So right at the start of 2003 I got a job as an Account Director with a company called Circular Distributors who did these things called doordrops. 5 years later I became Managing Director.
Is there anything about you that you think people would be surprised to know?
In my ‘missing year’ of 2002 when I was looking for a new direction I wrote a novel. I turned 50 this year and having re-read it recently and realised it is in fact the greatest book never published I have decided that my present to myself will be to get it published this year.
What is the craziest thing you have bought during lockdown?
We had planned a mad year of holidays to celebrate our 50th birthdays which has of course been decimated by Covid-19. So with the refunded deposit of one such holiday I bought a pop-up swimming pool for our children. If we can’t go on holiday then the holiday will have to come to us and happily, by and large, the UK weather has played ball!
Once lockdown eases the world as we know will still be a very different place, what do you think the biggest positive change will be once this is all over?
I am literally staggered by what my amazing team has achieved during lockdown. I hope that this experience will forever rid any nagging doubts about the effectiveness of flexible working and that the work/life balance will be literally that. Balanced. I am also excited about the environmental benefits of lockdown for the planet we’re leaving behind for our children and am supportive of all efforts to try to capitalise on the positive impacts we have witnessed since March.
What do you think direct marketing / mail / print will look like a year from now?
I am passionate about our industry and have an innate love of what works. I personally believe the rush to digital media has been a sort of collective madness that in time will be viewed as a somewhat embarrassing episode in the history of marketing. I see results from all the channels used by our clients and the smart ones - the ones who take the time to measure beyond last click attribution; who don’t choose their media based on its cheapness; who don’t take Google Analytics as the gospel truth and who don’t believe that people wake up one morning and spontaneously type their brand into a search engine – they see print media for the many splendored benefits it brings and also see digital media in its appropriate context. With social media boycotts, outrageous data privacy scandals, tighter regulatory controls coming and in some cases some genuinely poor performance, digital media is losing its shine. Direct marketing has had its turbulent years – GDPR, Brexit and now Covid-19 – but I remain supremely optimistic that the channels have developed, innovated and proved their worth. It may take more than a year but I firmly believe that the next ten years for our industry is significantly better than our last ten years; I also think that digital’s next ten years is going to be nowhere near as good as its last.
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