[Read] New mad men… or "Figure out"

The reason we have major media and creative agencies like Ogilvy, Saatchi, MindShare and OMD is because when commercial TV launched, these agencies figured out how to make money from TV advertising.

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The key word is FIGURED OUT not TV advertising. Trust me when I say monetizing TV through advertising was far from an easy task.

These agencies realised that they lived in a time where building name recognition and capturing audience attention was essential to the bottom line.  To do this well they invented the focus group, the consumer survey, the direct-mail campaign, I could go on. Why? Because they understood that marketing decisions should be based on research and a solid understanding of the target audience.

Their focus was not on TV as a channel???but on the type of people in front of the TV, the context in which they sat there, the kind of lives they lived, and what made them tick.

By understanding people in this environment, and designing TV advertising around it, these agencies took one giant step into the future, a step that ensured their economic survival for decades (and a lot of Champagne).


So here we are today with a new challenge, and a new opportunity, in different economic times???and desperate to, via digital, take another giant step into the future, a step that we hope will ensure our economic survival for decades to come.

There are a few problems with this.

  1. Digital is broader and more complex than TV, it???s not a channel it???s a lifestyle.
  2. The speed of change and technology guarantees only one thing, and that is that change is continuous.
  3. The world we live in today is completely different from what it was a few decades ago when TV advertising was born.

Yet few seem to be taking the time to FIGURE it out ??? many however are talking the Mad Men learnings and principles and repurposing them. By doing this they are making the mistake of simply replacing one channel with another??? expecting the same result.

What this industry needs is a new breed of mad men (and I mean mad in its true sense because it wont be easy). It needs people mad enough to take the time to figure this out, in the context of today, the tools which we have to our disposal, and the reality in which we, and the people we want to get the attention from, live in.

And unlike the original Mad Men we will not be benefiting from one giant step into the future. The competitive advantage will not come from ???figuring out how to monetize digital???. The competitive advantage will come from understanding that there will probably never be a giant step into the future???but rather a series of small continuous steps???forever and ever and ever.

By that rational, our job as marketers is not to ???figure out digital???, but to figure things out, continuously???How? By building fluidity into the way we think, do research, produce products and services, communicate, interact and manage our organisation. Our job is to learn, to prepare for change and to be ready for the next big thing (or to create it).

This is why Jonathan MacDonald and I set up this fluid world. Our goal and mission is to help organisations achieve the necessary fluidity to get their head around, not just digital, but anything else on which their survival depends on.

Actually nothing mad about that???if I can say so myself.


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