I read an article recently about what CEOs want from their marketing teams. To sum up, they want technical people who can show analytical proof that marketing is working.
What happened to ideas?!
Marketing people are now required to be more mathematical than creative, and I find this is all disheartening. Sure, we live in a world where marketing must be accountable for the results we can prove – and data-driven insights help us create work that drives customers. But data can’t nail things like heart or humor. Data can’t express emotion. And data will never communicate imagination or surprise. Still, a lot of marketing is run by highly organized, accountable data analytics – not ideas (insert expletive here)!
Traditional advertising sends messages to the masses; digital marketing sends messages to the swarm and the herd.
I hail from the school of traditional advertising. Our work revolved around finding the Big Idea, which we crafted, honed and baked until it was rolled out. Digital (especially social) marketing lets us get our messages quickly – and we can fine-tune them again and again in real time – but the ease of digital means people are executing well before they have a concept or idea. We still need ideas.
…Let me say that again: we still need ideas!
If you don’t think ideas are still important, just look at the body of marketing work from most companies (large and small) and tell me what their brand idea is (a logo isn’t idea, so that doesn’t count). You’ll find a few ideas, but you won’t find many.
“The challenge is, when the glitter of tech, social platforms and data and all the other new toys wears thin, you are faced with the unglamorous truth: it all means nothing without that thing called an idea,” says Tham Khai Meng, Co-Chairman and Worldwide Chief Creative Officer of Ogilvy. (I’m a proud Ogilvy alumni, so I may be biased but this made my creative-yet-now-data-driven heart grow three sizes.)
There’s a big difference between being on the Internet and getting people to flock toward you.
We live in a digital world where each of us is a storyteller, a publisher, and even a personal brand. But there’s a big difference between being on the Internet and getting people to flock toward you. Progress requires a change in human behavior and that’s why the best marketing is still being done by people who understand the power of ideas. They organize, excite, and engage.
Ideas make customers a user and finally, an owner. So please, I beg of you, never ever lose sight of communicating ideas – simply, creatively, and emotionally.