In an ever changing marketing landscape, there's some debate on whether Mad Men (creative professionals) could still be the same as they have been. Or will the Math men (data and analytics managers) run amok in this profession and make the Mad Men irrelevant?
Or is there a third scenario, where it might not be an either or scenario. Can the same people morph into both Mad and Math men?
In a panel moderated by Nandini Dias, CEO, Lodestar UM India, the panelists consisting of Ajay Kakar, CMO, financial services, Aditya Birla group, Mohit Joshi, managing director, Havas Media, Rohit Suri, Chief HR and Talent Officer - South Asia, GroupM South Asia and Vivek Bhargava, CEO, DAN Performance Group, the group set out to discuss the ideal talent mix for the future.
Kakar set the tone for the debate saying that the future needs both Math Men and Mad Men.
However, as a client, it was not an easy situation. “We have 15 agencies representing a mix of math and mad men. In the bargain the client is turning slightly mad,” he said.
He said the problem was that if the digital partners are very good with data crunching, they don't reach the heart of the consumer. “They start floundering when they have to come up with an idea to communicate with consumers. They are totally at sea,” he said.
Suri of Group M said that media agencies were moving in the direction of getting the right mix of talent. “We have a centralised data platform that brings up the insights and creative teams bridge the gap and deliver the idea,” he said.
But Joshi of Havas added that the biggest challenge in the HR domain is not Mad Men and Math men as we need both. “The quality of both is a concern. Loyalty is one aspect. The new generation of both math and mad men are extremely frivolous with respect to their relationship with an organisation,” he stressed. While knowledge and skills are important, a positive and collaborative attitude is most important as it helps in a long term perspective of retaining and growing them within the organisation, he said.
Bhargava of DAN Performance Group said, “The context of creative has changed completely.” Earlier, if creative decisions were done from the gut, now they are backed by solid data inputs. “In our industry we say, ‘in god we trust. For everything else, bring data’. That mindset is very crucial for me,” he added.
According to Bhargava, the entire process of getting insights has become different and it’s no longer about juxtaposing ‘math’ versus ‘mad’ but about hiring people with a mindset who appreciate that data will be used to garner insight and aid decision making.