LAS VEGAS — Over the past few years, the most significant divide in the field of marketing has been the chasm between the digital folk and brand marketers. The digerati talk about engagement, obsess about tracking data across the funnel, and have an undying belief that technology can and will change the world.
Whereas the brand-driven marketers look to deep consumer insights and iconic stories and bow down to the immutable laws of what makes us humans tick. The distinct points of view from both camps have led to many heads butting, egos bruising and general disservice to the advertising industry.
Based on the technology and marketing on display at CES 2015 as well as the various conversations, talks and presentations I’ve observed here, we might be turning a corner in reconciling the alignment between the two mindsets. Both camps have taken leaps towards each other.
The clearest sign of the times is the daily agendas of the CEOs of large media and advertising agencies. They don’t just walk the halls looking at newest curved 4K TVs. They spend most of their time here at CES talking to the Facebooks and Twitters of the world, in briefings where they look at some of the highlights of last year and discuss the key opportunities for the next one.
These meetings are an opportunity for the agencies to vocalize what they see as important and the platforms get to show a glimpse of the future as they see it. This year I was lucky enough to be invited to a few of these meetings, and I was astonished by what was discussed. Although we’re talking about digital platforms, the nature of the discussion often wasn’t technical — it went back to the basics of how to invoke emotion (with a twist of how precisely we can measure it).
Just realizing that many of these digital platforms were incubated in dorm rooms a few measly years ago, we have come a long way. But at the same time the nature of the discussion has changed from "how many people can you reach" to "how do we tell great stories". It’s an equally great shift … And maybe in the near future we’ll all just be marketers.
Juuso Myllyrinne is global strategy director of TBWA\Digital Arts Network.