Mad Men to Math Men Trend #3 of 8 from Web Summit

The creative way of working must die and I think the industry is pivoting. Communication should and will be based on data.

– Alexander Nix, CEO at Cambridge Analytica

The protagonist and creative genius in “Mad Men” who went with his gut feeling is a thing of the past. The era when a single idea expressed in an advertisement could drive millions of people to buy a product or service is over. However, companies are slow to adapt to this new world.

Many brands and agencies are still focused on the traditional marketing funnel with awareness, consideration and conversion as catchwords. Relying on this stale approach is annoying for the customers and make them less sensible to the advertisements’ intended messages.


As a marketer, to be able to sustain and manage the complexity of a continuously evolving marketing environment, it is important to sieve through huge amount of consumer data to create personalized ads and content.

Coordination of channels and strategies based on data insights is key in this evolving era where data-driven marketing is industry standard. As Alexander Nix, CEO at Cambridge Analytica put it – the creative way of working must die. Communication should and will be based on data.





The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), is a new law from the EU. The law will take effect in May 2018. The regulatory framework requires that all companies with operations within the EU comply with GDPR. This limits the use and storage of personal data such as: Unstructured data (images, text referred to individuals) and structured data such as IP-numbers, addresses, medical and financial records.



The great conversation

We all agree that the internet is powerful and the amount of time users spend online is continuously increasing. Millions of people are interacting online daily and everything they do generates measurable data.

To succeed in this data-driven landscape, the collection of this type of digital DNA will be key. Thanks to big data and customer intelligence tools marketers are now moving from being mad men to math men.


With this shift comes great challenges. Such as the global conversation and online toxicity. By using AI, better conversations can be facilitated through algorithms that measures how violent and toxic a conversation is.

One example of how data-driven marketing can be used to change the way we communicate and take action is the creation of content and ads based on the answers people seek.


As extremist groups like ISIS commonly recruit and spread propaganda on the Internet, Jared Cohen, CEO of Google Jigsaw, has presented a solution. By reaching those who actively look for extremist content, they create content to help those in risk of being radicalized to find a new purpose. 

It could be leading them to a YouTube video where the ISIS propaganda is refuted or provide a personalized answer to a question like “How do I become a nurse”. If the content becomes more engaging and triggers the right emotions, it increases the chances that these people take action and start to rethink.


How well does Facebook “know” you by analysing your data? After 300 likes the social media giant can pin point your interests better than yourself.


Action speaks louder than words

In the same way as data-driven marketing and communication can be used to protect young people from extremism, data-driven content can also be used with other purposes and outcomes.

A current example of this is Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. During the summit, Brad Parscale, the Digital Media Director for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, explained how the combination of creativity and data were combined to drive Trump’s success.

During the campaign, 60.000 ads were created on different social media platforms, everyday.  According to him the foremost important factor in his campaign was to understand the needs of individuals and how they actually behave, not what they say they do.


By translating data into engaging content that had the answers people in America were asking for and that resonated with their needs, Trump’s team managed to find a path to victory.


Behind the successful campaign is a company called Cambridge Analytica. A company that have claimed that they created profiles of more or less all Americans, where each profile contained 5,000 data points that could be used to create targeted and engaging content with political intentions.

The profiles have been created through collections of data from Facebook and other social media. The data-driven method used by the company is controversial and there is a difference of opinion about the outcomes. Some people even call it “Psyops”, psychological operations, as in the methods used by the military to change the opinion among a large group of people.


The Donald Trump campaign created 60.000 personalized ads on different social media platforms, everyday. On a peak day – 150 000!





Web Summit is the world’s largest tech event, and a global meeting place for the world’s most innovative technology companies and people interested in how disruption can transform their business and everyday lives.

The event takes place during a couple of days each year and Cartina had the chance to be part of it in late 2017. We really got to experience the latest innovations and meet the frontrunners within different areas of technology – resulting in these trends.

This series consists of 8 global mega trends that business leaders, experts, innovators and disruptors talked about during the days in Lisbon. If you want to read the full report, click the button above and we will email it to you.

Here you can read about the previous trends we wrote about:

AI – Doomsday Prophecy

AI – Real World Superhero


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William Lorenz

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