"Three technology trends—media fragmentation, addressability and interactivity—are converging on the world of marketing and advertising. In a new era of Left Brain Marketing, analytical strategies grounded in deep audience knowledge will rise to predominance. Creative will remain essential but will play a smaller, more sophisticated role. The looming transformation of TV into an addressable medium marks the inflection point in the shift," he wrote five years ago.
Now Schmitt, executive vice president of Naperville, Ill.-based marketing services provider Allant Group, can say, "I told you so." But he's more gracious than that.
"I think, broadly, data is more influential in marketing now than ever before," he says. "What previously were mass media, analog media, are now becoming digital. And when they become digital, they become addressable and targetable. And in many cases, they become interactive. And those types of qualities are what lend themselves best [to generating] a lot of data, and they benefit from the intelligent use of data. So the hygiene and the quality of the data is still important. But I think even more … more important than that now is just the continued integration of new sources of data. And then the application of that combined database to drive intelligent communications through these new channels."
Cable providers, for instance, now can target commercials to the household level. Soon, consumers will buy products and services through interactive commercials, he adds.
Big Idea: Creative Needs More Big Ideas
What if companies pictured each customer standing in the middle of Times Square, surrounded by flashing lights and advertisements, bombarded by shouts from street vendors and buskers, watching traffic and readying to cross the street, all while trying to make a cell call? While this might be an average moment in the life of a New Yorker, that type of sensory overload is actually very real for many other consumers, too.