Data: Creativity’s New Best Friend

I had the plea­sure of par­tic­i­pat­ing in a pan­el dis­cus­sion at Adver­tis­ing Week Europe look­ing at who holds the pow­er — cre­ativ­i­ty or data. I per­son­al­ly believe that we’re way beyond talk­ing about this as a pow­er strug­gle. And that cer­tain­ly seemed to be the opin­ion of all my fel­low panelists.

We live in a world where there is a pro­lif­er­a­tion of con­tent – good, bad and indif­fer­ent. For mar­keters, the oppor­tu­ni­ty to reach and delight cus­tomers and audi­ences has nev­er been so high. But we also know it is hard­er for brands to cut through and hard­er for peo­ple to con­sume con­tent in this mul­ti-chan­nel, mul­ti-device envi­ron­ment. Infor­ma­tion over­load has become a mod­ern day curse for many, in one our recent stud­ies we found that 50% of peo­ple feel dis­tract­ed by the sheer amount of infor­ma­tion they’re bom­bard­ed with every day. This is not helped by the fact that we own an aver­age of six devices and 85% of us are using two of these at any one time.

Brands must there­fore draw on all their resources to cre­ate com­pelling and rel­e­vant expe­ri­ences that are a cut above the rest, and this involves both data and cre­ativ­i­ty work­ing togeth­er. Thanks to data, we can now under­stand and gain much more mean­ing­ful insights about our cus­tomers faster than ever before. This is empow­er­ing for creatives.

Of course there will nev­er be a tech­nol­o­gy replace­ment for the cre­ativ­i­ty and ideas that humans bring to the table, but by get­ting data involved, we can under­stand far bet­ter who we are cre­at­ing for, and then have the pow­er to quick­ly test, repeat, and re-eval­u­ate. That awe­some idea can become some­thing that has much greater impact that can be proven and learnt from.

The abil­i­ty to mea­sure impact impor­tant­ly wins us more cred­i­bil­i­ty in sell­ing our ideas into our CEOs, and helps us to de-risk some of our more cre­ative ideas. As we can now test and iter­ate quick­ly, this means we are able to recog­nise when some­thing isn’t work­ing and make nec­es­sary changes. We can put more ideas out there, even those in an imper­fect state, than ever before to see what real­ly res­onates with our audience.

As an indus­try we have moved beyond think­ing of these two areas as com­plete oppo­sites or inher­ent­ly opposed to one anoth­er. Last year mar­keters around Europe told us that near­ly two thirds (60%) agree that cap­tur­ing and apply­ing data to inform and dri­ve mar­ket­ing activ­i­ties, is now a giv­en. And a sim­i­lar num­ber (59%) are already using data from their dig­i­tal ads, cam­paigns, web­site and so on, to inform their creative.

We’re see­ing that a stronger con­nec­tion between cre­ativ­i­ty and data is chang­ing the face of mar­ket­ing and we are all adapt­ing to and re-invent­ing our­selves in this new environment. But, more than adapt­ing, we’re excit­ed about the pos­si­bil­i­ties – near­ly three quar­ters of the mar­keters we spoke to (72%) told us that they believe we are at the start of a gold­en age of mar­ket­ing. And I agree completely.