The coming together of ‘Mad-men’ and ‘Maths-men’

The coming together of ‘Mad-men’ and ‘Maths-men’

First there was the ‘Big Idea’, then came ‘Big Data’. However, there are only a handful of case studies where you can see how ‘Big Data’ has helped to produce the ‘Big Idea’.

As a result, there is very little recognition of how data and creative can work together to make marketing a more effective function.

This amazes me every day. If you think of the latest talk in the marketing industry, it’s all about data storytelling, personalisation and programmatic. These rely on data and creative to work together to improve the customer experience, as well as the relevance and value of your marketing efforts. Take ‘personalisation’, for example, where data and technology enables you to recognise your customers’ needs, while creative helps to communicate this need in a way that resonates with your audience. This is very much in line with CIM’s definition of marketing as, “…identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.” Data also serves as the linchpin towards creating highly engaging and targeted content based on what your audience are interested in.

Not just the ‘Big Campaign Idea’

Coming from a data background, what I can’t understand is all the talk about data killing creativity. Data, in fact, helps to channelise your creative efforts and give it focus. Creative will always serve as the mouthpiece to the ‘brain’ (which is the data). Yes, they did start off as polar opposite functions. However, the two are moving much closer together as data serves as the catalyst. Generating a large amount of insights, data can help to provide marketers with some context – useful, since today’s always-on consumer wants to receive communications at an ever more emotional and personal level.

Improved targeting aided by data has meant that there are more opportunities for campaigns to be seen by their intended audience. Technologies like programmatic have necessitated the bringing together of creative discussions into media planning sessions very early on, which results in better campaign ideas and execution. Data Management Platforms (DMPs) have also allowed campaigns to become increasingly adaptive to devices, including how they are viewed and in what environment. Like so, new technology and data capabilities are helping creative evolve into a much more dynamic and agile discipline – making it an important function, and giving it a seat at the top table of marketing.

The one thing that has changed, and will continue to do so, is the way the creative industry works. For example, where as it was once focused on delivering a marketing campaign idea, it now plays an important role in improving the overall customer experience. Therefore, the creativity doesn’t just start and end with the ‘big campaign idea’, but rather the ‘big customer idea’, where marketers have an army of creative executions ready to go to support the entire customer journey.

Get your ‘Maths-men’ and ‘Mad-men’ talking to each other

While bringing data and creative together seems like an exception and luxury at present, it will become a necessity for brands moving forward. The convergence of data and creative is something marketers will have to embrace, and quickly, in order to continue identifying and satisfying customer needs in the most engaging and relevant way.

My recommendation to marketing leaders is to get their ‘Maths-men’ (data people) and ‘Mad-men’ (creative people) to sit alongside each other, and communicate and work together in a collaborative environment. This way, they can help drive out marketing silos. On the other hand, traditional creative agencies should either employ or partner up with data scientists or agencies so as to deliver insights at a faster pace – allowing them to produce compelling content and creative. As Sir Martin Sorrell says, “….agencies should look how to harness their creativity in technology, data and content,” which can only become possible when data and creative minds come together.

Marketers, let’s get ahead of the curve by adopting the right technology and data capabilities that provide us with the useful insights we need to produce a winning customer journey. It’s the data, technology and creative together that can enable to us to become better marketers, and fulfil the emotional experience today’s consumers’ demand.

Welcome to the world of Smart Art.

Sameer Rahman Head of Analytical Insight and Research Response One
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