Business School Topics
Evan Cunningham-Dunlop is confident that virtual reality and augmented reality will change the future of digital marketing.
When it comes to digital marketing, Cunningham-Dunlop predicts that new technology will prove to be a game changer.
“In ten years from now the digital marketing industry will be completely different to what we have today. Consider that the iPhone wasn’t even invented until 2007, yet now almost everyone owns a smartphone,” Cunningham-Dunlop says.
“Over the coming years we’ll see a tremendous shift towards virtual reality and augmented reality, as well as a deep integration with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. The interfaces that we use to navigate both the web and the wider world will experience tremendous disruption, and with this disruption will come opportunity for the early movers.”
Those early movers include Volvo, which recently introduced a virtual reality test drive for their XC90 SUV, and hiking boot manufacturer Merrell, which last year created a virtual reality hiking experience.
The rapid pace of change, says Cunningham-Dunlop, is what makes digital marketing rewarding.
“Digital marketing is so enjoyable because the constant rate of change means that there’s always so much to learn. The industry is in a constant state of flux, with new tools, channels, and techniques bursting onto the scene at an astronomical rate,” he says.
“New entrepreneurs are lucky enough to be living through one of the greatest eras of opportunity that founders have ever experienced. Never before has it been so easy to build a globally scalable business with finite resources; the advent of new technologies has stripped away the barriers to entry that go hand in hand with many established industries.
“However, a lot of people are chasing the dream of fast and easy success, and as a result a lot of people are failing. To succeed requires immense determination, resilience, self-belief, patience, ambition, and deep layers of skill. Most of those attributes are attitude-based, but skill is acquired through experience, which means that business capability is most effectively learned by doing. So new entrepreneurs should dive in, execute quickly, learn rapidly, and be prepared to put in the gruelling hours to acquire the skills needed to succeed.”
Cunninham-Dunlop did exactly that.
Founding his own agency seven years ago (while studying for his MBA), Cunningham-Dunlop worked a lot of late nights and weekends.
“A new business venture places so many demands on your time, so it’s not for the faint hearted to launch into two intensely time consuming activities simultaneously,” he cautions.
“The biggest challenge with Living Online has been in bootstrapping the business from the ground up as a sole founder, starting with less than $20k in the bank. This meant that I didn’t have the money to hire people to do things for me; I needed to do everything myself, including working both in the business and on the business. It was a baptism of fire, but it was also an immense learning experience.
“The UWA MBA provided me with an overarching framework of understanding, as well as kernels of invaluable knowledge. Perhaps most significantly I attribute much of the success of our recruitment process to the learnings I gained through my Human Resource Management unit. Given that our team is the most valuable asset we have, the MBA delivered huge value on this front alone.”
Today, Cunningham-Dunlop is proud of his team and rapidly growing consultancy. He’s also an active member of Perth's start-up and digital ecosystem, regular conference speaker, and guest lecturer to UWA MBA students.
And into the future? We’ll have to see where technology leads him.
Verity Chia (UWA Business School) (+61 8) 6488 1346