Data and creativity are often seen as conflicting concepts in the Marketing world; with a feeling that over-reliance on technology and data insight is inhibiting uniquely human inputs such as imagination and intuition.
The truth is data and creativity are both vital components of any Marketing strategy, and the two can work together symbiotically to drive campaign goals. A recent McKinsey survey suggests companies that fully integrate creativity and data enjoy growth rates twice as high as companies that don’t, and according to Stacy Martinet, VP of Marketing Strategy and Communications at Adobe, “A data-driven approach to creativity helps marketers work more productively, create the right content faster, and deliver that content to the right customer, across the right channels, at the right time”. To remain competitive in the future, Marketing teams will need to bring data into day-to-day activities and ensure creatives and data analysts are working together, not against each other.
Here are three ways data can help marketers take creativity to the next level and deliver effective campaigns:
Data Reveals What Customers Want
Humans are inherently diverse, with personal preferences, likes, and dislikes, and this diversity makes creativity in Marketing subjective. A highly imaginative and original concept is only successful if the target audience receives and responds to it in the way they are supposed to. A creative or campaign that resonates with one consumer or audience segment may fall flat with another.
Data helps marketers to cater to the specific wants and needs of their audiences. It allows them to get closer to highly targeted niche consumer groups, understanding their preferences and passions and determining what they will engage with as well as what they won’t. Data delivers an enhanced understanding of consumer sentiment, revealing the emotional triggers that perform best for certain audiences, and illuminates how factors such as immediate context or position in the purchase journey can impact response. These insights can all feed into the creative brief, allowing marketers to use their ingenuity and powers of persuasion to ultimately connect with the consumer in a way they will relate to.
Data Is the Fuel for Creative Ideation
The most creative ideas are often born from data. When creatives and data analysts explore data together, they uncover fascinating trends under the surface that can inspire imaginative ideas and innovative concepts. The more playful and creative marketers are in the questions they ask of their data, the more obvious and beneficial the answers will be. These valuable insights allow marketers to bring originality and authenticity to their campaigns that will differentiate their brand in the long term.
By making use of the latest technologies – such as augmented analytics which combines algorithms, advanced Statistical methods, and Machine Learning – marketers can automatically uncover hidden patterns and invisible anomalies in data. When these discoveries are converted into actionable insights they stimulate rather than stifle creativity.
Data Refines and Perfects Gut Instinct
With inspiring creativity, data can also refine imaginative ideas. When marketers rely on gut feeling to drive their Marketing strategy they are already far more reliant on data than they think they are. Their experiences and observations – whether personal or professional – all form data points that feed into the decisions they make instinctively.
Data should never replace gut instinct or intuition, it should refine it, helping marketers to perfect their ideas and bring rational knowledge to irrational imagination. When creatives work with data analysts they often come up with innovative data-driven strategies for evolving an initial marketing concept. Creatives posses a keen sensibility for human truths, while analysts know how to interpret and map these truths using different data sources. Data actually pushes the boundaries of creativity by enabling marketers to test new and unconventional ideas and accurately measure the results.
Creativity without data is a shot in the dark and, while it is important to ensure the balance doesn’t tip too far in data’s direction, the two entities can exist in a symbiotic relationship. Data provides invaluable insight into what resonates with audiences and inspires creative ideas, as well as refining and perfecting gut instinct, so creatives and data analysts must work together to find the perfect equilibrium between data and creativity.