Last week I was offered the opportunity to attend a House of Common’s Debating Group session on the future of marketing.
The motion for the debate was – marketing functions will become dominated by data scientists with creatives in the minority. Going into the debate my initial views were that I would vote against this motion.
It was the first time I’d visited the House of Commons so there was extra appeal to see inside the walls of such an iconic building. The main entrance hall is huge with only a few people around in the evening. The building is full of history. As we walked to our debating room we passed several statues of former prime ministers and in the debate room itself had what looked like a twenty foot painting hanging on the main wall in front of the debating panel.
Arguing for the motion was Alan Freeman and Thomas Brown, Director of Strategy and Insights at the CIM. While Eva Eisenschimmel, CMO at Regus and Jez Frampton, Global CEO at Interbrand offered counter arguments.
Alan and Thomas made some convincing arguments pointing out the impact of new metrics and technology tools available to marketers, the importance of analysis and how this was feeding into making business strategy positions. Eva and Jez focused on the fact that people are emotional beings and marketing is part science but also part art.
My own feelings were that we need the creative in order to feed something into the analytics. The process of developing creative that inspires requires human skills and subjective assessments. It can’t be replicated or automated, not in the immediate future at least.
At the end of the debate, attendees had the opportunity to add points to the debate. Everyone that contributed spoke well. At the end we got a chance to vote, with a clear majority against the motion.
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