Interview with Chris Dobson – The Marketing Society


What’s your golden rule?

Don’t jump to conclusions! Gather various points of view and facts before deciding or you’ll be in danger of letting an incomplete view guide you in the wrong direction.

This is especially true in the complex world of programmatic and adtech, where actually discovering the root cause of an issue or challenge is often trickier than you expect.

Who has been your biggest influence?

At the very beginning of my career at Land Rover, I was guided and mentored by our Middle East lead in Dubai (it was a very different and wilder place in the early 80s).

He taught me how to interact with and operate within multiple cultures and diversities.

Whilst that was absolutely key to my subsequent international career, I have found the same insights also apply to my corporate career. As such his approach and advise has stood me in good stead for nearly 40 years.

What is your most hated business expression?

Blue sky revenue –  this is revenue that is not yet in view but is “projected” based on trend – which in reality, is based on hope.

Nothing ruins a P&L like imaginary revenue.

What’s the smartest business idea you’ve ever had?

The monetisation of MSN Messenger as the world’s first scaled social platform (2003). The premise in the early noughties was that context in advertising was everything and that a social platform (where audience targeting was built on user data rather than content context) could not be effective as a branding medium.

Swapping context for data led targeting created a revenue driver for both Messenger and Hotmail that far surpassed traditional digital channels in under three years and long before Facebook was even a twinkle in Zuckerberg’s eye!

What’s your favourite word?

Analogy – because I can’t resist painting pictures with analogies to illustrate a point.

Tell us a secret

I hate working a room!

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