The conversation dominating the digital industry hinges on two competing points of view. One states that marketing success derives from a game-changing idea—the position, the strategy, the slogan; the emotional evocation that sustainably differentiates one brand from another. The other asserts that we no longer need these “big ideas.” “Big data” can do all the heavy lifting.
With enough analytic firepower, and access to the decisions, behaviors, and preferences, data can define the message, target the audiences, and deliver the results.
In the long history of marketing, the greatest names belong to creative geniuses: P.T. Barnum, William Bernbach, Leo Burnett, Jay Chiat, David Ogilvy, Dan Wieden. But, are the creative gurus of industry past about to be replaced by a new set of names? Will we one day look back at the fathers of applied mathematics—John von Neumann, Charles Sanders Peirce, Bertrand Russell, Ernst Zermelo—as the geniuses behind modern day advertising?