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Former GroupM CEO Rob Norman and Tailify discuss the future of influencer marketing

By Esme Rice



The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

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March 18, 2021 | 4 min read

This week Tailify’s co-founder, Fredrik Martini, sat down with one of the most interesting people in marketing, Rob Norman, the former global chief digital officer and chief executive officer of GroupM, to discussed everything from the creative process, to data and influencer marketing.


Q: Looking back at your career, do you see any patterns when it comes to what gives you energy?

A: I’ve come to believe that if you go to work interested, then your day is likely to be interesting. So, I have tried all of the time to be interested in what I do, the people I do it with, the people I work for and the context of what I do.

I always try to extract something interesting from everything I do.

Q: I don’t think I’ve asked you this before, but what does influence mean to you?

A: I had a feeling you would ask me this, I suppose influence in the commercial sense is the leverage of some combination of celebrity, authority, relevance, and relatability. So, celebrity is someone who is well known, authority is someone whose opinion you would trust or value, relevance is that opinion is in the category of the brand and relatability means that I can feel some kind of personal connection. For me, those are the four pieces you must activate to leverage influence.

Q: There is an argument that if you focus too much on data, it gets in the way of creativity. Is there an argument that data can in fact make you a better creative?

A: Oh yes, absolutely. When I think about data, I think as much about pattern recognition as I do about anything else. One of the features of pattern recognition is when you find data points that don’t fit in those patterns. Sometimes, it’s the data point that doesn’t sit in the pattern that is the key to unlocking creativity.

Q: How has the media world changed over the course of your career?

A: Maybe the biggest change in the media world from when I started to now comes from a phenomenon which is that media, content, audiences and by extension, influence, has all become much more granular than they were before.

We have reached this sort of Andy Warhol moment where everyone in the world will be famous for 15 minutes. People thought we had reached that point a while ago, but we’ve really only got there now because you can be famous, but you don’t have to be famous to everyone.

To hear Norman discuss what’s missing for influencer marketing to get full buy-in from the media industry, and much more, listen to the full podcast on Influence Lab, or search ‘Influence Lab by Tailify’ on iTunes or Spotify.


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