Achieving a Successful ROI: Data and Creativity

female working on creative on her laptop

Over the past few years, technology has transformed the way businesses market and advertise. Savvy customers want a genuine connection and assurance from service providers. Because of this, marketers must decide whether to use data or creative marketing to draw in prospects. Brands will often miss the mark because they get lost in the data or focus too much on the creative.

Marketing: Right or Left?

According to conventional wisdom, there is a dichotomy between the right and left sides of the brain. The right side of the brain is geared towards creativity and intuition, while the left side of the brain is more quantitative and analytical. However, there is no scientific backing to support this; new research suggests an oversimplification.

Kara D. Federmeier, a cognitive neuroscientist from the University of Illinois shares that while hemispheres have specialties, creative and analytic processes happen across both sides with an intriguing interplay. In businesses, one cannot survive without both creativity and innovation alongside logic and analytics.

Data Doesn’t Drive Itself

Creativity is not new to marketing and is considered by many to be the foundation, but day-to-day operations and the increased use of technology have made businesses heavily reliant on data and analytics.

Traditional tactics have focused on the brand and persuading the audience; billboards, newspapers, and TV ads require a creative and flashy mindset that grabs attention. However, companies find that data such as those from point-of-sales machines, sales information, penetration data, and other strategies like focus group insights are critical in understanding, planning, and relating to people.

The drive towards maximizing big data insights directly correlates with funding management and improving the bottom line. But as businesses develop immediate solutions from data, there is a tendency to lose sight of the long-term vision of the firm and the overall brand reputation and message. There continue to be challenges regarding the collation of data and effective communication with target audiences.

Data can be dry, and one of the vital questions data-driven firms ask is how to make information more contextualized, targeted, and relevant to the market. With greater insight comes a greater responsibility to utilize detailed campaigns to generate more potential leads while creating more value for consumers.

The challenge with creativity is subjectivity; people have likes and dislikes that can be as different as night and day between people of the same demographic. That is where data comes in—it offers a clear and general understanding of what will resonate with your market. A creative, data-centric company culture will optimize marketing campaigns that will lead to better prospect conversions.

It’s Not Data, It’s Not Creativity

In the same manner, creativity is only half of the picture. There appears to be a silent consensus that in marketing—much like most other areas—creativity and are data opposites. The bigger question is, are they mutually exclusive, and the answer is no. Data elevates creativity, and creativity makes data more appealing.

Technology and market research are the foundation for a creative process. They provide vital insights into niche consumer groups; data is a powerful ally of creativity and adds emotional engagement. Combining both elements allows for an imaginative output in a quick-paced environment.

Never has there been a more symbiotic relationship, but applying it in the real world is easier said than done. Marketing is forced to rely on data for proof and justification, which stifles creativity and results in underwhelming content. Handling a wealth of data daily can be overwhelming for marketing teams making an organization-wide emphasis on alignment more critical. Accessing data, insights, and inputs across all departments allow for more informed, creative results.

According to a recent study by Walker Sands Communications, over 40 percent of US marketers revealed that a mix of both creativity and technology drives their current company strategy. Managers must recognize that they are complementary. Creatives thrill, and data drives it home.

Social industries have demonstrated that 53% of surveyed marketers reveal “a demand to deliver more relevant communications/be more ‘customer-centric’” are primary factors powering their data-driven marketing investments.

Marketing is more than giving people what they want to hear – getting the right message across to the right people using data-driven creative guarantees genuine interest in your products and services. One must provide essential knowledge, but there also has to be data that backs it up.

Data-driven marketing is about responding to customer needs promptly, based on buying behavior and data collected online and offline. These insights can build better relationships, promote customer loyalty, and improve customer lifetime value. To learn more, check out our white paper, The Complete Guide to Data-Driven Marketing.