An Interview With Dave Birss
Where do you see the future of marketing, what do you think will be the focus of marketing departments over the next 5-10 years?
The future of marketing has both Yin and Yang. On the good side, it will continue its trend to add value to audiences and help to fund great content. On the bad side, soul-less marketers will continue their efforts to insert shouty and irrelevant crud into every new channel that evolves. And in 10 years time, goodness knows what these channels will be!
How did you get into corporate speaking?
It was never intentional. The best things aren't, I find. As an opinionated Creative Director I would occasionally get invited to speak at events. It seems that having an opinion and being comfortable on a stage was the right combination and I gradually found myself in more and more demand. About 5 years ago, after I left the advertising industry behind, I found myself with enough speaking requests to charge for talks - and it became a regular source of income.
In advertising, is everything moving online or is there still a place for an iconic television ad that gets everyone talking?
There's always room for an iconic TV ad that will get everyone talking. But if it's something that attracts that kind of interest, it will obviously be uploaded to the web by an interested audience (if the client hasn't wisely done so already). It's a mistake to think about channels separately these days - the smart people are creating campaigns that work across them. And, generally, channels aren't dying - they're just multiplying (sorry, I didn't mean that to rhyme!)
You've had a variety of different jobs, which one did you enjoy the most? and the least?
I always love whatever I'm doing at the time. At the moment, I'm loving being a film-maker and speaking at events. The biggest exception to that rule, however, was probably working on the complaints line for Sky TV in the early 90s. I lasted two months before quitting and feeling a huge weight lifted from my shoulders. I think I skipped into the Unemployment Office the following morning.
Who are your heroes? Either in business or real life?
I've spent most of my life as a misunderstood polymath. It's only in recent years that the breadth of my interests has felt like a blessing rather than a curse. So my heroes are people like Leonardo Da Vinci, Arthur C Clarke and Nick Cave who have excelled in more than one arena. I think the world belongs to creative generalists like them. At least, for my sake, I hope it does!