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Thursday 26th 2018f April 2018

Open Thinking


Thought for the Day

"Failure is art of learning, and we have to enjoy that art." Written in 2011 by Abbas Pachmarhiwala --- India

The Centre for Integrated Marketing goes independent

As of June 3rd 2011, the Centre for Integrated Marketing became independent of the University of Bedfordshire. The Centre led the research project featured on this site. At the time of the research, we were a leading research centre of the University (then called Luton). Centre for Integrated Marketing

Revolutionary added value

"I think your work on the Open Planning is the most revolutionary value addition to the marketing industry in a long time" says Frank Maina, Head of Mobile, 3Mice


future events

Open Thinking

Open Planning requires Open Thinking and develops through eight action areas (see the Open Planning framework).

Open Thinking may seem easy and obvious. It turns out to be neither obvious nor easy. Most senior marketers on both brand and agency sides believe in integrated or media neutral communication and huge effort is being put into achieving it, yet large problems remain, for example in optimising and evaluating the communications mix.

This is because most attempts to solve the problem operate at the same level as the problem itself. Many popular assumptions about marketing communications on closer examination are dubious or constraining, and yet these are redeployed in many attempted solutions. Solving the problem requires thinking at a different level to the problem itself, and this requires an open mind.

For example, Open Disciplines and Open Media reflect findings about the marketing communication disciplines, including for example advertising, direct marketing, PR, design, selling and so on. Closer examination shows that many of the heuristics or rules of thumb used in selecting disciplines and media for a communication project are self-proving theories that don't stand up scientifically. Each of the beliefs leads to marketing communications being designed to perform a particular task, which when achieved serves to prove that the belief is correct. However, a different design would have led to a different result. Demonstrating this may be one of those cases where science is the handmaiden of creativity, because the effect is to liberate creative thinking while enabling new rigour.

Examples of these heuristics include: "advertising is for awareness"; "above the line" and "below the line"; "mail closes the sale"; "rational and emotional media"; and "each discipline needs its own objectives".


  • IBM 'e-business' - IBM bet the business to the tune of $5 billion 'comms' plus all internal channels
  • Tesco invented Clubcard, revolutionised supermarkets, and positioned themselves for the Internet

Case vignette


It recognises AOL's massive investment in mail media communication as a challenge to the traditional marcoms disciplines and therefore introduces a smarter framework. AOL communication shows that multiple communication concepts may be integrated within a single Touchpoint or communication event in any medium.


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