Nothing sums up the advertising world better than the show Mad Men. That’s why so many people in the industry love it. The quotes of Don Draper – the Creative Director of the fictional Sterling Cooper agencies in the 1960s – are plentiful around marketing offices because they succinctly sum up much of how advertising and marketing work, even today.
Take this quote from Season 4, Episode 8, The Summer Man: “People tell you who they are, but we ignore it – because we want them to be who we want them to be.” This was the modus operandi of marketers for decades. Buy a product and feel satisfied, complete. As Don Draper also said, “Happiness is freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing, it’s okay.”
However, with the advent of social media, big data, and the Internet of Things, the modus operandi has been flipped. The best agencies have started listening, realizing that when people tell you who they are, they’re also telling you what they desire. Crunching this data is big business, allowing for more effective marketing campaigns to specific target audiences.
Don Draper is out. Watson is in.
This May, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, the Havas Group, one of the world’s largest global communications firms, officially unveiled Havas Cognitive, a partnership between Havas Group and IBM.
Andrew Benett, the global CEO of Havas Worldwide and Havas Creative Group, told Adweek, “We came to the conclusion together that the combination of our business in brand acumen and their business in technology acumen is an incredibly potent pairing.”
Havas Cognitive brought forth what’s looked at as the first cognitive marketing program for TD Ameritrade. The goal was to solidify TD Ameritrade as a serious NFL sponsor and leverage the sponsorship to more engagement and interest in TD Ameritrade.
The campaign was based on finding the most confident football fan in their team. Participants signed up on a TD Ameritrade branded page for the contest, with Super Bowl tickets as the grand prize.
The technology monitored participants’ social media accounts, with an algorithm then assigning a confidence score to each participant based on their tweets, posts and messages, ultimately determining and ranking the most confident fans in their team on the campaign website. The number of engaged participants exceeded target numbers, and the algorithm also worked, predicting the Broncos as champs right before kick-off.
Also in May, advertising and marketing solutions company Equals 3 announced the cognitive companion Lucy, Watson-powered technology designed to, “Help Fortune 1000 brands and agencies quickly comb through all of an organization’s data to answer marketing questions through one interface.”
Lucy processes vast amounts of marketing data in seconds to deliver fast answers. Simply ask Lucy who buys a certain product or service, and you’ll get a detailed response of that target demographic.
Scott Litman, co-founder of Equals 3, adds that, “Lucy solves the data-overload problem marketers and agencies have been grappling with for years: accessing the appropriate data at the right time. The fact that Lucy can accomplish in one day what has previously taken months to do is a complete paradigm shift.”
In addition, Digiday reported in February that the IBM digital ad agency iX acquired Ohio-based agency Resource/Ammirati, Berlin-based Aperto, and Dusseldorf-based Ecx.io. IBM extends its reach as an advertiser and marketer while the agencies (operating as subsidiaries within IBM iX) will “get the full weight of analytics and access to ‘cognitive’ data that IBM and its AI engine Watson can offer, along with the broader business strategy and design capabilities.”
For eCommerce, Watson can help fix the problem of irrelevant search results. For brick-and-mortar stores, interactive touchscreens allow Watson and physical retail marketing to gather real-time information on customer’s browsing habits and brand loyalty. As Ariella Brown wrote on the IBM Watson Blog, “With a shopper’s Twitter handle, for example, eyeQ and Watson can identify an individual’s propensity to spend and, in turn, recommend products within a specific price bracket.”
The switch has been made. All this consumer information Watson processes and identifies allows marketers to zero-in on how consumers shop, what they want to buy—even how much they’re willing to spend on a particular item. The guesswork is being eliminated.
As good as the Mad Men quotes are, marketers are moving quickly away from the Don Draper mindset—no more attempting to convince you that you need and want a particular product or service. Now, you’re in charge. You’re talking to them. And with Watson, these companies are listening intently, ready to serve up your request in a matter of seconds.