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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.

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    Mark A Carbone

    Some of his predictions are not all there.

    – new competitors to marketing agencies are data agencies. That is so far from the truth. Big data is still in it’s early days and a big data firm only sells the data. They are not equipped to execute on it.

    – his next prediction – goes against his former prediction. On one hand he said that agencies that are based in human judgement need to beware of big data and now he states big data is king.

    – geography without technology doesn’t get you there. They depend on each other for efficiencies in exploring new markets, presumably less developed economies.

    – China is finding a better way to create marketing business models. That is a huge claim without backing it up. How did he even get a spot on the podium to speak?