Archives for posts with tag: madison avenue


The whole advertising industry is embracing Big Data. It’s the new black of marketing. I’m a big fan of testing and optimization. We finally have readily available data in real-time – how can you not incorporate Big Data into your working practices and developing a culture around test and learn? The real success stories in Silicon Valley and on Madison Avenue are exactly doing that. And any advertising agency worth their salt has to follow that path.

There’s one thing optimization can’t do.

Coming up with a radical, game-changing solution to a problem. An idea that is entirely different from any which is currently in play. A disruptive innovation.

To develop this disruptive idea, you need a vision. Testing won’t ever come up with disruptive ideas. Focus groups definitely not. Surveys? Please.

When you need disruptive innovation, you can’t rely on science. You need to rely on art, embracing a bit of chaos. It’s not either science or art. Agile, organizational cultures needn’t preclude discordant ideas. In fact they should thrive on them. The companies that will flourish are those that encourage divergent, not convergent thinking around a powerful vision, and then test and learn as (and not before) they build and execute it.


This is one of my contributions to Jack Myers’ MediaBizBloggers site

You go to any marketing conferences and within minutes you feel the urgent need to duck and cover: There are battles for market share and share of voice. People are targets, we have campaigns that include guerilla strategies. If you aren’t cautious, you’ll be surprised by a marketing blitz. And, just like the military, marketing tries to understand our brains, wants to predict human intent.

The reason why we use this language is very clear: The Mad Men of the 1950’s at Madison Avenue had returned from WWII or the Korean War. They transferred military language to their new endeavors. It might have been a good fit during the age of passive consumers and corporate mass media dominance. Not anymore.

This language is too much “us versus the rest of the world”, it’s too disruptive and it still doesn’t understand the consumer. Just because I visited your site for a second doesn’t mean you’re entitled to target me until the end of times.

Targeting works under a false paradigm. We shouldn’t be targeting people. Reverse it. Consider your product/service as the target of your customer. And your marketing is there to help them aim and succeed better in hitting that target. Be a pleasant, exciting and entertaining presence in places where prospects spend their time and help them get their job done.

It’s time to call a truce.