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All Marketers are Geniuses: An Introduction

All Marketers are Geniuses: An Introduction Josh Shatkin-Margolis
Despite the fact that I majored in computer science and electrical engineering at MIT, I remain the black sheep in my family. I’m the only one amongst my extended family without a graduate degree; a middle child between a surgeon and a Johns Hopkins professor. Surrounded by these crowds, I have come across my fair share of intelligent people. But never have I seen a group as collectively intelligent as marketers.

Sure, software developers are skilled, doctors are very knowledgeable and lawyers are astute thinkers. Surgeons have developed laser surgery. Lawyers have mastered the art and science of the criminal mind and the nuance of law. And marketers have developed neuromarketing in which even the brain waves of targeted customers are measured. In a world where the consumer is inundated with messages, marketers have maintained and even advanced the ability to influence purchase intent and brand image. In fact, marketers have developed laser-like audience targeting capabilities. According to Yankelovich Research, an average person living in a city 30 years ago saw up to 2,000 ad messages a day. Today, that number is up to 5,000 and we still keep finding a way to cut through that clutter. That, I would propose, is genius.

This level of genius is actually an abundant industry characteristic. At the surface level, it’s simple--we put the right ad in front of the right person at the right time. The most educated psychologists can dissect this seemingly simple tactic and still find brilliance found within the statement; and within the end result.

Marketers have a very unique charge. They have to not only position a brand strongly in the market, but must also be able to plant a seed in the user’s mind to establish preference with a particular product or service utilizing a small image or 30 second spot and doing so when the customers’ brains are most receptive. This is genius. Giving a customer a clear call to action used to be circumstantial; its effectiveness was hard to pin down and replicate. Now marketers have the tools to understand the customers they’re targeting in real time and technology to reach them more effectively.

With the online advertising ecosystem in flux, we need to be reminded most importantly of what is right about our industry. As we try new exchanges, bidding mechanisms and roles for the agency, we need to remember that in the end it is about putting that right ad in front of the right person at the right time to influence decisions about a specific product or service. The need to examine the positive and share success stories to encourage continued growth seems to be working as targeting online display advertising is the fastest growing portion of advertising ($1.5B growing 60% in 2011 alone).

So, if you’ve ever wondered how what is working in marketing, now you can find out by reading the new series ‘All Marketers Are Geniuses’ on iMedia Connection. In this column, we will explore the strengths and opportunities afforded to the industries through a series of interviews with the main drivers of the media industry. Stay tuned.

Josh Shatkin-Margolis is the founder and CEO of Purple Cloud, the world’s first digital communication platform designed for customers to communicate with the staff of brick-and-mortar stores. Prior to Purple Cloud he founded Magnetic, the...

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