Villing & Company

WWDDD: What would Don Draper do – in today’s mad marketing world?

Questionable decisions about personal morality aside, Mad Men’s Don Draper was one smart guy. The way he could present creative new advertising campaigns to clients makes me more jealous of him than his movie star good looks. But as smart as he was, I find myself wondering how he would survive in today’s Mad World of Marketing.

About the time Draper was in his fictitious heyday, there was a popular musical entitled “Stop the World – I Want to Get Off.” Some days, that’s how I feel. Now I’m not as old as Draper would be, but I’m not all that far behind him. And one of my greatest professional challenges is keeping up with the latest, greatest trends in marketing.

Just today I was reading about "people based marketing." If you haven’t heard about it, don’t feel bad. Apparently about two-thirds of senior advertisers have, at best, only a general idea of what it is. Some are not familiar with it at all. For the record, Facebook used the term last fall to describe its new, enhanced capabilities in the world of targeted digital marketing. Here’s how Adweek described the service. "Facebook is finally sharing its deep knowledge of 1.3 billion users to power advertising across the Web in a way that marketers say is unprecedented, potentially enhancing their ability to target messages like never before." In that same article, one digital advertising CEO went so far as to call it "marketing nirvana."

I would try to explain further how “people based marketing” works but to do so would only reveal my own limitations. I am simply using this latest marketing trend to get back to the point of this article. Gone are the days when marketing communications consisted mostly of advertising and PR. When TV advertising involved just the major networks. When newspapers dominated much of our local news media consumption. And when mobile advertising was a truck with a billboard mounted on the back. 

The marketing world is changing at warp speed. Now we have "content amplification", CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization), Programmatic, "native advertising", "predictive analytics" and scores of other tools, tactics and techniques. I suspect even many digital native millennial marketers may be finding the rapid rate of changing marketing technologies a bit overwhelming.  Imagine how us Boomers feel.

It’s a real challenge. As the president of a marketing agency, it is my responsibility to stay on top of developments that will help our clients be more effective in their marketing. And I like to consider myself a student of my chosen profession and engage in as much continuing education as I possibly can. I don’t necessarily need to know HOW all these new technologies work (thank goodness for young colleagues who can do that), but I do need to be able to know what CAN be done.

So, Don Draper, where are you when I need you? What would Don Draper do to make sure his agency is relevant in the new world of marketing communications? 

Now where did I leave that bottle of bourbon?

Filed Under: Advertising

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