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At the intersection of art and science

Josh Muirhead



At the intersection of art and science

It has never been a better time to be a marketer is a phrase I hear a lot. The general thinking is that with so many different ways to connect with the end consumer and with so many different tools to measure success, we have never had it so easy.

I happen to disagree with this general point of view.

Recently I attended Dx3 Canada, an annual digital conference focusing on ‘what is next.’ The theme this year seemed to focus on how technology was going to further our understanding of anything and everything. Certainly not a new topic, but we’re no longer talking about ‘big data.’ We’re now focusing on cognitive computing abilities, which is where a machine can think, or the ability to connect to simple-looking devices and have them measure our outputs on a metaphysical level, like brainwaves or pin-point eye tracking.

All this reinforced my belief that we are at an interesting inflection point in communications marketing. While we have a million different levers we can pull, pulling the right levers at the right time is the difficult part.

Ryan Archibald, Managing Director of VICE Canada, summed it up nicely when he said their mission is to discover the optimal content for the optimal platform at the optimal time.

And that’s where we as communications professionals will eventually head: Combining a vast amount of data with our artistic ability to uncover these optimal moments, we will be the stewards of combining art with science. Alone, the best data in the world will only tell you half the story and a well-crafted message will go unseen/unheard if not combined with data.

If I took anything away from Dx3 it was simply this – it’s easy to get consumed by data and it’s as equally appealing to throw all that information out the window. But for those marketers who master the inflection point and who can combine art with science – those are the marketers who will lead the next generation.

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