Why Creative Marketing Rules in a Data-Driven Age


Think about the things that stick with you. The song that repeatedly transports you back in time. The vacation that reshaped the way you look at the world. The book that changed your perspective.

There’s no question creativity adds depth and meaning to our experiences. From films to theatre to architecture to your favorite recipe — life experiences are all about the careful composition and creativity needed to create a one-of-a-kind, memorable moment or interaction.

Shouldn’t the same be true for the content and the experiences you create for your audience? And in a data-driven world, should facts or feelings drive creative execution?

Proving the ROI of creativity

Today’s data-driven marketing landscape is all about proof. Marketers must be able to back up their creative content decisions with data and proven ROI. Their jobs, budgets, and headcount depend on it. 

Yet, while our everyday experiences show us that emotion matters, it’s become increasingly difficult for creatives and designers to prove the value of their creative marketing work. Creatives often lament that data-driven approaches are stunting their inventiveness and ability to make content that will stand out to their audience. And executives struggle to justify marketing spend on projects that they can’t measure.

However, Adobe’s Executive Creative Director, Adam Morgan, argues that “creativity still deserves a seat at the logic table.” His recent article outlines the ways neuroscience proves what creatives have always felt in their gut — that emotional content creates a lasting impact. It drives loyalty and decision-making. It makes your message memorable. Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio explained, “A brain that can’t feel, can’t make a decision. We need emotion, not just logic alone.” And to invoke that emotion, marketing organizations need to either have full reign to get creative or have the ability (and budget) to lean on other creative teams.

Experiences matter

We know that today’s consumers demand more from brands than ever before. They expect seamless interactions across every touchpoint and experiences that feel completely tailored and personalized to them. 

Yet recent Gartner research shows that 84% of consumers find their digital experiences fall short of expectations. As a result, marketers face increasing pressure to build creative marketing experiences that stand out in a sea of content sameness.

Data can actually help marketers create the experiences customers crave. However, because most every marketer has access to similar data, the key to creating truly unique experiences will still rely on the creatives who dream up the ideas. And by unique experiences, we don’t just mean a cool video or image on social — thinking outside the box with experiential marketing, short video series, or podcasts can help set your brand apart in a creative (and measurable) way.

Using data to inform creative marketing concepts

Of course, data and analytics are critical to creating content that moves the needle for your marketing campaigns. However, data alone shouldn’t drive creative execution. The key is to use data to inform your creative decisions — and make them even better.

For example, at Google Creative Lab, creativity is never sacrificed in the name of analytics. When building a new user experience, the creative idea is always more important than the flawless execution of the campaign. Once the campaign or experience is launched, the team will then use performance metrics and live feedback to iterate and optimize the experience.

That’s one approach. Conversely, creative marketers can leverage data to uncover insights about their audience to use as inspiration for new ideas. A combination of data-driven insights and creative innovation can come together to create truly memorable experiences.

“Data inspires ideas. Metrics drive creativity. They are not mutually exclusive,” says Morgan.


Jen Gustavson is a NewsCred Contributor.


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