FROM THE BLOG

Martin Sorrell on What's Next

“My guess is that our business will become more scientific and data-driven.” – Sir Martin Sorrell

Sir Martin Sorrell acquired his way into the advertising business during the 1980s, first by scooping up small agencies and then by stunning the ad world with takeovers of J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather. By the mid-1990s his company, WPP, was a dominant force in advertising, and Sorrell himself saw the future of the business as going digital. In 1996, when the idea that the web could change media and advertising was still hotly debated, Sorrell wrote in Harvard Business Review: “The fact is that there is a reasonable chance that interactive media–including the Web–could transform the way we build brands and communicate them to consumers. And that’s enough to go on.”

Almost two decades later, Sorrell is still at the helm of WPP, a global advertising empire that employs 162,000 people in 3,000 offices in 110 countries. Though the influence of digital is now a given, that of social media–along with technology like the DVR and even out-there ideas such as programmable T-shirts and Google Glass–is still debated. Three days after one of advertising’s annual rites–the Super Bowl–Sorrell sat down with HBR’s editor in chief, Adi Ignatius, to talk about the future of advertising, balancing science and art, and why he thinks Facebook and Twitter aren’t really advertising media.

Read more from the source: Harvard Business Review

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