Amazon’s Coming & It’s Probably NOT Going To Need Aussie Ad Agencies

Amazon’s Coming & It’s Probably NOT Going To Need Aussie Ad Agencies
SHARE
THIS



In his latest column (dare we say outburst?), B&T’s regular columnist and contrarian, Robert Stohfeldt, says we live in a world of data but few in adland can even scratch the surface. However, he has an ominous warning of Amazon’s pending arrival and its huge (see: we don’t need ad agencies) data in-house capabilities…

Much has been said about Amazon and its impact on not just retail, but business in general. In all the hype, one key point has been overlooked. Yes, they are believers in the power of data, but they have recognised that data scientists won’t be part of the plan.

There is a huge rush to courses teaching data science, but these courses are to genuine data analysis what a first aid course is to a medical degree.

Amazon is employing economists and human behaviourists with PhDs. Why? Science has been using “data” for hundreds of years. But you will not find a “data scientist” in the world of science. Instead you will find scientists, as in zoologists, geologists, chemists, physicists etc. and working alongside them are mathematicians. (Even Einstein, who had a pretty good understanding of maths, needed to work with pure mathematicians.)

A mathematician does not need to understand consumer behaviour. They work in a team with an expert in this area.

Statistics is applied mathematics – in particular, calculus and linear algebra. For all those people rushing to data science courses, you are really learning to be a glorified data entry operator.

Unless you did advanced maths at high school and continued with pure and statistical mathematics at university, you are just scratching the surface. Learning enough to be dangerous. Statistics is not statistical mathematics. A question for the “data scientists” out there. How do you explain i? (The square root of minus one) and complex numbers or eigenvalues. They didn’t teach you that in your data science course? How about a tangent to an affine plane? Basic calculus will teach you about the importance of the tangent line in differentiation. But that is only two dimensional. You will be dealing with multiple variables, hence the need for matrixes and finding a tangent to a plane of numerous dimensions. If all of this sounds like gobbledygook, then move onto something you understand and leave data well alone.

And off the shelf algorithms won’t be the answer. Every situation is different. You will need to be able to work out the Probability Density Function (PDF) from scratch, not just make an assumption the data fits a pre-determined computer model. Then you will need a computer programmer, not just some coding cowboy, who can write the programme for the raw data to be fed into.

Mathematicians don’t understand human behaviour. Nor do they need to. They work in a team with people who understand human behaviour – one does the maths, the other interprets the results.

Our industry has been suckered by the Google, Facebook duopoly because fooling the media agencies with numbers is like the old “taking candy from a baby”. I have sat through any number of presentations by the big media shops as they show off their proprietary analytical tools, which to be diplomatic, are total garbage that could be pulled apart by a 1st year university maths student.

We now have the media dominated by this duopoly who have used media agencies as an entrée to clients. They will be (already are) cutting you out of the relationship. No one needs a middleman these days.

I have yet to meet one person in media who has studied mathematics at university. (There may be one or two out there and if they are, they will understand what I am getting at).

Amazon won’t need ad agencies. They will do all their work in-house. They may engage specialist consultants on occasions, but these people will not be from the advertising industry.

Predicting the future has always inexact. It is fair to look at the past to predict the future, but in so many instances, something pops up out of left field (something no one could have predicted, such as 9/11) which changes everything.

Advertising has become obsessed with technology and in many ways, that is fair, as we live in a world not only dominated by technology, but one in which the speed of progress keeps accelerating. How do we future proof ourselves?

Probably the most important thing I learned from a mathematics degree is that creativity cannot be formularised. Yes, there are people spending huge amounts of time and money trying to get AI to act creatively. Even the term Artificial Intelligence is misleading. People interpret it literally. Somewhere along the line we went from calling them computers to AI, resulting in the perception they think. Well they do not. Machine learning has come a long way, but a computer (AI) can only solve a problem is it programmed to do so. If a person cannot work out how to solve a problem, there is not a computer in the world that can it do for them.

Creative thought is something AI cannot do and the day they are able to, well it will probably mark the end of civilisation. Making a machine that is smarter than us and knows we are a threat to it is not a very smart evolutionary move. (Though many neurologists argue this day will never come due to the basic differences in the working of a human brain and even the most powerful computers.).

Stick to jobs that require creative thinking, as opposed to the repetitive and formularised and you will always be needed. The move to data scientists and letting the foxes into the hen house (Google & Facebook) is edging advertising closer and closer to extinction.

Hopefully you won’t have to explain to your grandchildren what an advertising agency was.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Agent99 PR Adds Product of the Year Awards To Client Stable
  • Marketing
  • Media

Agent99 PR Adds Product of the Year Awards To Client Stable

Independent communications agency Agent99 Public Relations has welcomed new client Product of the Year Australia to its stable, supporting the awards to increase visibility and awareness. Product of the Year is the world’s largest consumer-voted awards program for product innovation. It currently operates in 31 countries with the vision to guide consumers to the best […]

TEG Announces Joint Venture With Chinese Ticketing Company
  • Marketing

TEG Announces Joint Venture With Chinese Ticketing Company

Australasian ticketing, live entertainment and data analytics company TEG has announced it has entered into a joint venture with Chinese counterpart YongLe. The joint venture will see TEG and YongLe launch a cloud-based ticketing and entertainment platform in China. The platform, expected to be launched in 2018, will be branded YunTek, which translates to ‘cloud […]

Streetfighter Media Launches Millennial Sampler Bag Offering For Brands
  • Marketing

Streetfighter Media Launches Millennial Sampler Bag Offering For Brands

Guerrilla marketing company Streetfighter Media has unveiled a new service designed for brands who want to engage Millennials straight after they attend a music gig.  Kicking Television is a white cotton tote bag, filled with products and goodies – and it’s given to Millennials for free. How does it work? The bags, with their unapologetic […]

Zenith Sydney MD Karen Halligan To Depart
  • Media

Zenith Sydney MD Karen Halligan To Depart

Zenith Sydney's Karen Halligan has pulled-up stumps, although that's not to infer bad light had anything to do with it.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
PR Agency Hotwire Rebrands
  • Marketing
  • Media

PR Agency Hotwire Rebrands

PR agency Hotwire has rebranded, yet sadly not to "Hot Cocks Who Rock Your Socks Off". Which would've been far cooler.

Challenger Agency VCCP Wins Creative Account For Torrens University Australia
  • Advertising

Challenger Agency VCCP Wins Creative Account For Torrens University Australia

After a competitive pitching process involving five agencies, Torrens University Australia has appointed challenger agency VCCP as its new brand strategy partner and creative agency for 2018. Acclaimed for its work on dynamic brands including ING and Compare the Market in the financial services sector, Laureate Australia CMO Anne Da Cunha said VCCP’s reputation as […]

GumGum Appoints Ansible’s Sarah Baskerville As Victorian Sales Director
  • Advertising
  • Technology

GumGum Appoints Ansible’s Sarah Baskerville As Victorian Sales Director

AI advertising company GumGum has announced the appointment of Sarah Baskerville as its sales director for Victoria. Baskerville joins GumGum from Ansible, where she spent two years as its Melbourne mobile director. Prior to joining Ansible, she was head of specialist sales and partnerships at News Corp Australia, and also held a number of sales […]

The Diamond Concierge Gives Away $85K Ring In Campaign By McCann Queensland
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

The Diamond Concierge Gives Away $85K Ring In Campaign By McCann Queensland

McCann Queensland’s second instalment of ‘The 5th C’ campaign launched over the weekend for online diamond retailer The Diamond Concierge, which received over 47million views around the world in the first 48 hours of it being released. In this second phase of the campaign, The Diamond Concierge gave away an $85,000 diamond ring, with Gold […]

Sparro Recruits Key Account Director Following Client Wins
  • Marketing

Sparro Recruits Key Account Director Following Client Wins

Digital marketing agency Sparro has announced the appointment of Hannah Jones (pictured above) as a key account director following a spate of client wins. Jones joins Sparro’s senior team alongside founders Cameron and Morris Bryant, overseeing a portfolio of accounts that includes Webjet, Domino’s Pizza, TAFE NSW, Temple & Webster, F45 Training and Bing Lee. […]

Women’s Health’s Jacqui Mooney On Driving A Women’s Brand In An Evolving Industry
  • Media

Women’s Health’s Jacqui Mooney On Driving A Women’s Brand In An Evolving Industry

In an industry facing change, Jacqui Mooney, editor of Women’s Health believes brands such as hers will continue to be a constant. Please note: this article was contributed by Magazine Networks. The magazine industry may be seeing substantial change but Jacqui Mooney has a goal that remains firm: to create happier, healthier lives for Australian women. […]

Why Consumer Brands Are Failing Aussie Mums
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

Why Consumer Brands Are Failing Aussie Mums

Is your game chainsaws or large marlin wall-hangings? Can't seem to attract the mums? This couldn't come soon enough.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine