Five ways tech frees creativity
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Five ways tech frees creativity

When data powers up a business, it sets the marketers free to get creative.

Marketing technologies do more than provide insight and efficiency, they free up marketers to make creative decisions. Here are five areas in which data can be used to liberate marketers to use the full range of their talents.

Building experiences

Product development is expensive, so it needs to hit the mark from the get-go. Data generated by consumers – purchase figures, plus all kinds of interactions and engagements – brings insight into customer behaviour and needs, and market trends. This insight can inform product development and insure against costly mistakes. As owners of the consumer data – with the opportunity to seek knowledge and understanding from the very start  – marketers can place themselves at the centre of the creative process.

Today, a ‘product’ is not a standalone item – it is more than simply a service or goods on a shelf. Product is about overall customer experience – often to the extent that old distinctions between product and brand don’t always hold relevance. Every product, however it is defined, must be built as a creative concept – a ‘story’ – in itself. In revealing customers’ wider interests and concerns, customer engagement data is key to fleshing that story out. Using data to better target the right audience at the right time will also help turn customers into advocates, who will develop and distribute that brand story further.

No more set pricing

In the past, many businesses would decide the price of a product or service by weighing up what it cost to make or deliver, and comparing it with what customers were willing to pay. Simple – but not always effective.

‘Cost’ to a customer does not always equal ‘value’, for starters. Also, value is a slippery thing: it can rise and fall at any given moment and means different things to different people. Data allows marketers to track the potential value of products and services much more closely, in real time – and therefore apply prices that are more likely to seal a deal. Data has lifted marketing out of a fixed pricing straitjacket and, today, what we mean when we talk about value has been utterly reconfigured. Why do brands value social media engagement so highly? Why are brands falling over themselves to give away content for free? These questions can only be asked if the cost + demand = price conversation is over. It’s up to marketers to build the next stage of the narrative around value.

Real-world marketing

Consumers always had thoughts and questions about your products while they were out and about, living their lives. But now, with the rise of mobile, they can act on them at any time. Welcome to the world of Google’s Micro-Moments and its slightly earlier iteration, the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) .

Some might argue that an always-on understanding of the consumer world puts pressure on marketers to deliver at all times but with little or no extra resources. No doubt this is sometimes true. In which case, marketers need to become ever more creative in their targeting and messaging – to be there, and be helpful, whenever an audience wants to engage. The days of a campaign being built around a TV spot and a print ad are over.

Join the evangelists

‘Our people’. It’s a standard tab at the top of many a company website, delivering visitors to a page where they can see who’s who in the organisational hierarchy. Sometimes more junior team members will be present too, or even a cute picture of ‘the office dog’. It helps build a sense of the company’s culture, rounding out a brand identity. But these faces aren’t the only evangelists for what you do. The majority of people who spread the word – good and bad – about your business are your customers. Data lets you track what they say, approach them, engage with them, and bring and keep them on-side. Marketing, of course, should steer these creative conversations. In speeding up other more laborious work, data and tech also create more time for this to happen.

Promotion, promotion, promotion

It has become a well observed maxim that when it comes to today’s multi-channel marketing, the 80/20 rule applies: only 20% of resources should be spent on production; the rest – 80% – should be invested in network amplification through advocacy. Such a strategy can only be implemented if data automation is doing some of the heavy lifting for you. Marketers need to be instrumental in ensuring that’s the case. And when amplification via online advocacy takes centre stage, creativity becomes much less an add-on, and more a foundation of what marketers do every day.

Want to learn more? Discover the strategic importance of spotting new opportunities through creative thinking, as well as seeing challenges from a new perspective, with Paul McWhinnie's one day Thinking and Creativity Skills course. Master how to generate, develop and select new ideas quickly, as well as make decisions and take action. 

Martin Bewick Content Lead CPL
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