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  • Writer's pictureJohn Bell

Why Launch the Next Digital Consultancy…Now?

Updated: Apr 28, 2022

Digital change just accelerated.

My new digital consultancy, NextNow Digital, is a child of the times. There are four big things all happening that make now different:

  • The rise of customer-centricity compels business to understand and deliver what their customers actually need. People want simpler, quicker, more trustworthy, “on-their-terms,” interactions every time they engage with brands. That’s especially true now as we all adapt to life during COVID-19.

  • Our hyper-distributed existence where we all work, live and go to school at home forces the adoption of all sorts of digital products, services and means to communicate and cope.

  • Marketing is changing dramatically with the rise of data and data privacy, the importance of earned attention over push messages and the fight for brand relevance.

  • The flurry of economic, social and health crises that challenge small and mid-size businesses who will need all the advantages of ‘digital’ to sustain and grow their business.

I want to help startups, small and mid-size businesses – the backbone of the global economy and of my new, wonderful home state of New Mexico – use digital to punch above their weight. The need to hustle up and adopt new, digital ways to conduct business, build products and services, market and sell has never been greater.

If not now, when?

I just retired from my big, corporate life. For the past seven years, I led Enterprise Digital Marketing at Travelers Insurance. Before that, I spent fourteen years at Ogilvy helping digitally transform brands around the world. I planned this so-called ‘retirement’ well before COVID-19 hit us all like the sucker punch it is. When faced with the certainty of years-long global recession, I had to decide if this was really the time to make this move. My answer is obvious.

For years, I have helped big brands digitally transform - brands like Travelers, Ogilvy, The Ford Motor Company, American Express, Nestle and Unilever. From building new digital marketing capabilities - content marketing, data and analytics teams, social media marketing, customer relationship management solutions - to establishing innovation ecosystems to help accelerate change.

Now, it’s time to right-size that digital transformation for mid-size and small business. The COVID-19 health, economic and emotional threat has accelerated digital changes that were underway anyhow. There is no return to the old ‘normal’ in our future. It’s time to adapt and adopt new digital ways of doing business.

What does NextNow Digital deliver?

Many businesses ‘get it’ and are improving business with new digital-first ways to market and sell, develop new products and services and compete. Many more have just begun, and some have been putting change off.

We help companies and organizations do more with digital.

Through consulting and services, we deliver practical ways to improve and grow business:

  • Digital Marketing and Customer Experience Strategy and Programs – we deliver planning and execution of marketing and CX programs that expand customer value and revenue, acquire new customers and build brand.

  • Digital Capability-Building – from training to new ways of working, we elevate the digital capabilities of an organization in a sustainable way to compete for today and tomorrow

  • Digital Transformation – for those seeking change and a bigger pivot towards digital, we help business leaders craft and execute change programs that lead to lasting improvements toward their mission.

NextNow Digital is a “next-now” business

Truthfully, I am just figuring out what this means. After working with so many large businesses, I know that next is smaller, leaner, more agile, digitally enabled and anchored in community – local and global.

Here are key qualities of a next-now business:

Measurable solutions not just services

Helping unlock the best digital solutions for a struggling retail business, a mid-size manufacturer, a financial services firm or a startup needs a customized, executable solution that actually improves some key business metric.

Right-size and right-fit digital solutions

You may need to hire or train a digital marketing team within your company, jumpstart a digital marketing program to acquire new customers, establish a method for innovating new products or services. Your need is specific to your business. As a consultant with more than thirty years of working on the next digital capability, I bring a broad network of specialists just right for the challenge. The joke that if all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail, just doesn’t apply.

Value and efficient cost

Since NextNow Digital is a lean company with a network of specialty providers, we can focus on that great solution without the burden of overhead. We use digital, ourselves, to keep costs down for clients.


I am both a citizen of the world and a fierce supporter of Albuquerque and New Mexico. Business today needs to prioritize more than financial returns. Fifty percent of my time is spent trying to be of-service to my new community. I volunteer to mentor startups via CNM Ingenuity and AccelerateNM. I proudly serve on the board of Presbyterian Health Plans, part of the largest healthcare system here committed to helping New Mexicans live healthier lives. I teach. I try to say “yes” as often as possible.

I am excited to launch NextNow Digital. Of course, let me know if I can be of any help to you or someone you know. While these are daunting times, I choose optimism and all the possibilities ahead.


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