Inspired by the crashing and burning of Democratic fundraising strategy, Cathy O'Neil’s Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, and programmatic media buying I’ve been thinking about what the role of humans in marketing is today and tomorrow.
In a future world run by algorithms, big data, and AI, what is the role of the human being in marketing, heck in work, or life at all. Maybe this why the grassroots craftsmen movement has taken root? We want to celebrate imperfection (the not the same, not the perfect) somehow, somewhere.
Now more than anything, it seems our role in marketing is to make mistakes; to bring the imperfect opportunity to do something new through error, guesswork, and serendipity. Perhaps as Leonard Cohen so eloquently put it, “the cracks are where the light gets in” to marketing.
One of the most infamous mistake in modern marketing was when Spencer Silver, a researcher in 3M Laboratories, who in trying to make a stronger glue came up with the weaker glue that made marketing researchers iconic symbol, the Post-it note, possible. And what AI would have gotten from serial killer Gary Gilmore’s last words, “Let’s do it”, to “Just Do It”? There are other versions how the tagline came into being but there is only one Dan Wieden.
Big Data and AI, can move us incrementally forward but only human intervention can make the big leaps that transforms marketing from Robocalling to cultural mantra.
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