Put the Magic of the Medici Effect to Work in Digital Marketing

Frans Johansson in the book, The Medici Effect: What Elephants and Epidemics Can Teach Us About Innovation, writes of discovering a fountainhead of creativity and innovation in what he calls, diverse fields of intersection. He had this wonderful epiphanic moment at Peter’s Cafe, Horta, on an island in the Atlantic Ocean. The cafe was frequented by travelers from around the world and beneath its calming, laid-back atmosphere, ideas and worldviews were sometimes shared, sometimes thrown up against others. The result was a symbiotic “Intersection” of cultures, disciplines, people and knowledge-sharing. Such an intersection can become fertile ground for germination of ideas that bounce off each other in a marketing organization. This magical intersection is what a modern digital marketing team must seek out or recreate to propel a campaign to new heights.

A close look at the digital marketing space—which now encompasses social media, email, digital advertising, media buying, and more—reveals an explosion of data through a multiplicity of channels that continue to pour out the messages thick and fast. The message you created so painstakingly may be lost in the sea of digital signals coming at your target every nanosecond. The intersection can bring clarity and focus to the campaign, eliminating the trivial and keeping the message sharp like Cupid’s arrow in The Chase.

For instance, a content marketing team sitting in with the digital marketing team can bring in insights that could be used to target messages in the appropriate channel in just the right measure (To what audience? Channel? Exposure?). Although the purpose of each team converges on the success of the campaign, views about what can bring about that success often differ. The willingness to participate, listen, and log-in to another perspective can help overcome biases of the mind and bring into existence new vistas.

As Johansson explains in the book, the phenomenon he calls the Medici Effect got its name from a family of bankers in 15th century Italy who funded creators from varied disciplines, including poetry, philosophy, finance, art, and science. As a result, there was a convergence of talent to that part of the world. As their creative ideas took shape in an atmosphere of divergence, with other viewpoints contrary to theirs, a fusion of horizons took place that changed worldviews, broke down barriers, and unleashed the power of creative genius, bringing in the Renaissance.

To capture the essence of this effect and recreate the possibility of an intersection, the digital marketing team should have both right and left-brained members. Silos have long been outdated. The need to have a creative presence on multi-media channels and at the same time harness the explosion of shrewdly-captured data has changed the face of every marketing organization that dared to take the crucial step to go digital. Analytics is important but so is the ability to interpret emotional data captured for organizational learning and growth. It is a happy place where both meet to generate social insights.


About the author

Jaba holds a PhD and a Masters in English. She heads Stirista’s India operations bringing experience to the young team at Bangalore. She took over as Director at Stirista Solutions Private Limited, Bangalore in 2016. Prior to this, she was a Professor of Management Communication at a premier Business School in India. A life lived in three continents across the world has helped Jaba feel at ease with most cultures. Having traveled through the US, parts of Africa, Europe and...

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