So Nick Moore, executive vice president and chief creative officer at New York-based direct marketing agency Wunderman, says clever ideas have to do double duty to cut through the clutter. First, they have to be amazing. And second, they have to last.
"We need to think beyond the project into long-term relationships with consumers," he says. "We need ideas that can live over time and ideas that are strong enough to adapt and flex to consumers' responses, to consumers' experiences with the brand. And yet the idea is to still maintain a core DNA."
To a customer, interacting with a company is a branded experience—he or she is interacting with, for example, Land Rover, not some silo thereof.
"We are in a creative business," Moore emphasizes. "Data alone merely gets you to the right place at the right time. But if you say something boring, nobody's going to listen to you."
Big Idea: Hire
So how about Schmitt's "Left Brain Marketing" prediction that creative professionals would be paired with statisticians to build marketing message strategies?
In perhaps the most apparent display of integrated marketing efforts, companies are mainly hiring analytical professionals with creative bents, says Jerry Bernhart, owner of the Owatonna, Minn.-based digital and direct marketing recruitment firm Bernhart Associates Executive Search.
Through a combination of his own observation and findings in the quarterly surveys his firm conducts about digital and direct marketing employment trends, Bernhart can say that the same basic categories are holding true. Companies are hiring analytical and creative professionals.
But more and more, they want both talents in the same individual, he says. Part of it may be due to economic conditions, but much of it is due to the increasing need to have customer insight from team players. So it's a good thing the top universities seem to be teaching integrated marketing skills.