Phoenix—This is a great time to be in the digital advertising and media space, top executives from AOL Inc. and Fidelity Investments said Monday at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's Annual Leadership Meeting here.
"This is the lowest competition and highest opportunity (environment) that I've seen in 20 years," said Tim Armstrong, chairman-CEO of AOL and former president of Google Inc.'s Americas Operations. He compared the current state of the digital sector to the auto industry in the early decades of the 20th century. "The next 20 years will make the last 20 look small in comparison," he said.
Armstrong noted several favorable trends, including the emergence of Big Data, which he said is still in its infancy, and the increasing digital connectedness of consumers. He also said he cheered the news that the U.S. Postal Service plans to eliminate most Saturday delivery, citing it as evidence that "the offline world is going offline."
Jim Speros, exec VP-CMO of Fidelity Investments and a longtime marketing executive at AT&T, delivered a speech on "The New Golden Age of Marketing." Helping to usher in this era has been the arrival of Big Data. "We are definitely entering a new golden age of marketing where big ideas and Big Data coexist," Speros said. (The theme of this year's IAB meeting is "Big Data, Big Ideas: Friends, Enemies or Frenemies.")
"Data is the lifeblood of Fidelity Investments," Speros said. For businesses overall, he said, "data is becoming as important as raw materials and fossil fuels."
But Speros said Big Data is only part of the marketing equation and must be matched with creativity.
"Simply collecting data is not an end in itself," he said. "Collecting too much data results in chaos."