Adver­tis­ing Week is now in full force with more than 80,000 atten­dees (brands, dig­i­tal agen­cies, marketers/advertisers, media com­pa­nies and more) scur­ry­ing around the Big Apple hop­ing to gain or share some insights into the future of adver­tis­ing. Lots of peo­ple, lots of pan­els, lots of net­work­ing, lots of par­ties – and Adobe is excited to be a part of this event again with our biggest pres­ence ever! As we posted ear­lier this week, Adobe has lots going on here so stop by our Adver­tis­ing Week Expe­ri­ence (AWE) booth, attend our pan­els (in-person or via live stream) and join the con­ver­sa­tion on Twit­ter using hash­tags ‘#AWIX­Adobe’ and ‘#AdValue’.

Today, Adobe’s Justin Mer­ickel, senior direc­tor of new prod­uct inno­va­tion for Adver­tis­ing Solu­tions, spoke on a panel around whether dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing is deliv­er­ing on its full poten­tial. It’s a loaded ques­tion, but chim­ing in with Justin was:

  • Dave Cle­mans, Exec­u­tive Cre­ative Direc­tor, TAXI
  • Scott Sorokin, Global Dig­i­tal Leader, Mind­Share
  • Steven Cook, CMO, FanKix​.com and for­mer CMO, Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics NA

As mod­er­a­tor Sha­reen Pathak, AdAge and Cre­ativ­ity reporter, summed up: In the dig­i­tal era, adver­tis­ing has never had more impact or been more prov­able in terms of deliv­er­ing results. Gone are the days of “half of my adver­tis­ing spend is wasted; I just don’t know which half.” In fact, new devel­op­ments in dig­i­tal not only offer more oppor­tu­nity for cre­ativ­ity and brand engage­ment across more chan­nels than ever before, but also offer insight into how it’s work­ing and dri­ving the business.

The lively Q&A evoked var­ied responses from the pan­elists, but every­one agreed that a bal­ance of data with cre­ativ­ity sparks the most suc­cess­ful ad cam­paigns – dri­ving the best ROI for brand mar­keters by reach­ing the right peo­ple, who hope­fully make a “con­ver­sion” by becom­ing a cus­tomer, mem­ber, etc. This is a topic we’re very pas­sion­ate about since cre­ativ­ity is at the core of Adobe’s DNA, but we’re also build­ing a major por­tion of our busi­ness on dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing where data is king.

When asked about what the per­fect “dig­i­tal adver­tis­ing cam­paign” would look like, sev­eral pan­elists noted that it wouldn’t be about dig­i­tal, but focused on reach­ing peo­ple at eye-level and opti­miz­ing itself over time across sev­eral touch points. As Cook com­mented, “It’s about get­ting into someone’s head and chang­ing their behav­ior. Dig­i­tal and social present so many more ways to engage with con­sumers and inform brands.” Around whether “data is killing cre­ativ­ity,” Mer­ickel said, “Cre­ative [assets] need to iter­ate with ideas based on data which can inform cam­paigns,” while Steven Cook cau­tioned, “Just because we have ‘big data’ doesn’t mean we should use all of it. A big part of this [adver­tis­ing] busi­ness is still intu­itive, which means you should embrace big, cre­ative ideas even if you don’t ini­tially have data to back them up.” Mean­while, Sorokin added, “We need data to be action­able, which is where cre­ative comes into play. But with so much data, you need the right minds ana­lyz­ing it. I imag­ine a day when a mar­ket­ing ana­lyst has a seat at the table with a marketing/brand direc­tor.” Cle­mans asserted, “Cre­atives like me love data! Data is the feed­back mech­a­nism that’s telling me whether I’m doing my job. It can help shift per­spec­tives and drive ROI.”

The con­ver­sa­tion con­tin­ued to flow around how data pro­vides insight, which informs future cam­paign direc­tion, but adver­tis­ers need to remain nim­ble and real­ize that cam­paigns need to evolve over time. The ele­phant in the room that closed out the chat was around social mar­ket­ing and met­rics. What rep­re­sents good social engage­ment and which social met­rics should mar­keters use to read engage­ment lev­els? Cle­mans made a good obser­va­tion: “Face­book ‘Likes’ quan­tify some­thing, but what? It’s great if peo­ple ‘Like’ your brand, but how are you engag­ing with them? You’re build­ing a brand with fol­low­ers.” Mer­ickel noted, “As a mar­keter, [Face­book ‘Likes’] allow brands to engage with con­sumers. But you have to look at follow-on engage­ment. ‘Likes’ should not be the only social cam­paign met­ric. Are friends shar­ing your con­tent, engag­ing reg­u­larly, etc.? Those are the types of things to look at as well. As brand mar­keters, we need to look at a series of met­rics that help us reach the out­comes we want to achieve, eval­u­ate those met­rics and tie them to optimization.”

What do you think – is there too much data out there that it’s hurt­ing cre­ativ­ity? Do you see value in social adver­tis­ing? What obsta­cles get in the way of a per­fect cam­paign? Hit the com­ments and let us know.

More recaps to come tomor­row and Thurs­day on other Adobe pan­els. Fol­low us at @AdobeDigMktg and @AdobeAds or check us out on Face­book for our lat­est updates from Ad Week NY!