From my M.B.A. days I was taught in Marketing 101 that marketing is providing the right product or service to the right people at the right time at the right price using the right promotional techniques. The guys (it is the 1960's) from Mad Men would recognize this definition and basic process. As titans on Madison Avenue in the golden age of advertising, the Mad Men crowd excelled at the right promotional techniques - - the ad in Life magazine on the 30-second commercial on I Love Lucy.
The Internet has transformed marketing and advertising. The Ad industry in 2012 aims to target personalized messages to the right person at the right time - - in real time. Firms like
Droga5, fueled by data scientists, mine information with the goal of uncovering insights about human behavior and unlocking new creative ideas for ads, products and services. What the data scientist are attempting to do in the ad business is harvest consumer signals (this also applies to the democratic process - figuring out voters) to deliver something more relevant and more meaningful.