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.