Want to know the next big thing is in marketing innovation? It’s Chinese business models of course… According to Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP speaking at the  IAB MIXX conference in New York yesterday.

“If you said to me, ‘What’s the next big thing?’ I would say it’s Chinese business models. We in the West think we have a monopoly on this wisdom, but we don’t.” –  Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, Sep, 24, 2013

Okay, so Sorrell wasn’t specific on which business models, but the Chinese giants (Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent and Xiomi) over-index on e-commerce, mobile, apps and marketplaces. Hmm.

As an industry leader where the direction on innovation follows the money as much as the technology, understanding what Sorrell thinks is up next, is useful.  He’s bullish on media-neutral media management, mobile and data, but he has some interesting additional thoughts on what’s next that he shared in a recent (paywalled) HBR interview – here’s a quick summary.

  • Uniting broadcast TV with online media, including social media, is and will be powerful (media meshing)
  • Data, science and knowledge sharing/collaboration technology will solve the current anarchy in marketing (new markets, new media, legacy IT and silo thinking)
  • In a new marketing world where data is king, the new competitors for marketing agencies/groups will be data agencies such as GfK and Nielsen.
  • Right now there is an over-reliance on data, algorithms and science – this needs to be rebalanced with knowledge, art, intuition and human judgement
  • We’ll see innovation and growth in mobile advertising (from their current ‘prehistoric’ state)
  • The value of Facebook will prove to be in branding; Facebook is a branding medium, not an advertising medium
  • The value of Twitter will prove to be in PR; Twitter is a PR medium, not an advertising medium
  • The value of social and online media buzz lies in political campaigns
  • Geography, not technology, is where marketing opportunities lie

So there you go.