Qantas: We need more mad men, less math men in marketing

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 11 March 2015

The math men are taking over. Marketing has become too concerned with reach and big ideas are being neglected. Marketers need to get back to creative ideas, says Stephanie Tully, one of the most high profile marketers in Australia.

Tully, who recently moved roles from being CMO of Qantas Loyalty, to take on the executive manager of group brand and marketing role at Qantas, has a strong background in data and loyalty marketing, but she thinks the discipline is being dominated by the math men and is urging marketers to tip back towards creative ideas.

“We're a bit too math men, and we need a bit more mad men,” she told the Ad Tech Sydney conference this morning.

“I sit on one of the industry boards for marketing and we were having a long debate around how marketing has become all about the math men. To be honest, I’ve got a finance background and I’m obsessed with numbers, but I think there's a need for a bit of mad men to come back in and we need to ask; 'Have we got the mix of mad men and math men right?'

“I strongly believe that we're a bit too math at the moment. I think we need to be careful and I encourage all the client marketers out there to remember that this industry is a melting pot of excitement at the moment. There are so many exciting ways to reach our customers but remember that you need really great ideas and great creative and I think at the moment were seeing a little bit too much talk about how we reach, and not about the creative ideas. So I encourage you to make sure the basics are right,” she told the audience.

“I see people spending too much time thinking about the math, the date, the reach and not enough thinking about why they're even having that conversation [with a consumer] in the first place.

“There's too many marketers that aren’t getting the best out of their creative talent - whether it's agencies or internal - because they don't know how to inspire them. You have to get that stuff right.”

Tully also said that data is being thought of as an output, and not often enough as an input that can help share creative thinking.

Qantas is also poised to launch video ads on Instagram, and is one of the first to do so.

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