From Mad Men to Math Men

Brad Messinger
Marketing Insights
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Key Takeaways
  • Using data to make smarter investment decisions starts with asking the right questions.
  • Although embracing real time strategies is no easy feat, it’s critical to keep pace with the speed of your customers.
  • While many companies are interested in utilizing data to find potential customers, it’s also important to use information to improve products, services and the overall experience.

Modern day marketing demands right-brain thinking with a left-brain approach

Suits, scotch and cigarettes come to mind when many people think about professionals in the marketing industry. While the 1960s’ depiction of the advertising industry shown in the AMC TV show Mad Men has garnered widespread critical acclaim, when compared to today’s actual marketing landscape, the show no longer represents reality. The role of marketing has truly changed. The creativity and storytelling that is often associated with advertising and marketing are no longer the only skills needed to succeed in the industry—and there’s enough data to prove it. Today’s marketer has many more channels to choose from, access to unprecedented amounts of data, and ultimately, more responsibility across the entire organization. Needless to say, if the 20th century was all about the creative, the 21st century is all about the numbers. In order to succeed in this increasingly complex world, it’s crucial that marketers adopt a data-driven approach that perfectly mixes the creative and quantitative sides of marketing.

Put Data in the Driver’s Seat

We’ve all heard the old phrase “I know half of my advertising is working, I’m just not sure which half.”

The old problem of knowing that 50% of your marketing is working, but being unable to figure out which 50%, is no longer an accepted flaw. To manage the complexity of continuously evolving marketing environments, marketers must coordinate channels and strategies based on informed data insights. We may not be at a point of 100% certainty yet, but we have definitely evolved beyond the flip of a coin. The science of data-driven marketing is the new industry standard. It’s time for marketers to start putting Big Data to good use and find actionable paths through the information. The challenge, however, is how to utilize the seemingly limitless amounts of data to answer the fundamental questions about return on investment. The end goal strikes the perfect balance, combining the art of marketing—channel coordination based on your audience’s behaviors across the customer life cycle—with the science of marketing, which involves making investment decisions based on desired business outcomes and informed by data insights.

Get Digital

Spoiler alert: The Internet is powerful. As of last year, the Internet had reached 2.8 billion people, and the amount of time that users spend online is continuously rising. While it’s no mystery that millions of people are interacting online daily, the key is in the digital DNA they’re leaving along the way. In today’s digital age, everything generates data, and just about everything is measureable. From searches to clicks to “likes,” the amount of data that is at the fingertips of marketers today is enormous. Marketing has always been based on the relationship between behavior and communications, but before the recent advancements in data collection, marketing strategies were based more on intuition than information.

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Author Bio:

Brad Messinger
Brad Messinger is the director of marketing at Chicago-based digital marketing agency Rise Interactive. Messinger serves on the board of directors for the Chicago chapter of the AMA, and he’s also a member of the Forrester Research Marketing Leadership Board. He can be reached at or @BradMessinger.

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