Why Data-Driven Creative is so Powerful—and How to Use It

Blog Post
January 13, 2017

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Data, data, data. It’s at the heart of just about everything today and getting cleverer by the minute. But what does that mean for creativity? Right now, data-driven creative is a much-discussed topic in the marketing world. And for decades, we’ve been marrying data and creativity to make amazing things happen. Here are just some of the reasons we champion the winning pair and some top tips for making it work for your business.

Data increases relevance and illuminates results

With people spending an average of four hours on mobile devices seeing countless marketing messages every day, they expect a whole lot more from brands. And that’s exactly where data can become your best friend. The days of posting ads and ‘hoping for the best’ are history. Insights drawn from data make creative more targeted and rewarding.

As Yahoo’s Chief Revenue Officer, Lisa Utzschneider, shares:

“Opening up some of the biggest opportunities in digital advertising today, data is becoming a currency all of its own. It allows businesses to better identify their ideal audiences and engage with them in a more meaningful, effective way.”

Insights gleaned from data provide focus, understanding, assurance. They give us a clear-cut and explicit view into audience behaviors, what they’re looking for and how they like to be engaged with. This offers brands the power to deliver the most relevant creative communications in the ways people want to receive them.

Insights also help to demonstrate the true value of creativity. Gone are the days of things just looking pretty. In an increasingly digital world, data uncovers results and plays an important role in confirming return on investment.

Emotion and efficiency

It’s undeniable that data holds great power. But as Stephen Beringer, Publicis Media’s Data, Technology and Innovation Chief summarizes, ‘an algorithm cannot come up with the perfect gift for your wife’ (not just yet anyway). That takes creativity. And when you bring the two together, you’ve got something special.

Creativity makes people feel and think. Data helps to ensure that they’re feeling and thinking the right things. It’s the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’. The foundations that spark those eureka moments of inspiration. Using data to fuel your creative keeps you from taking a shot in the dark and enables you to efficiently deliver the right, most impactful messages.

Making the most of data-driven creativity

So, now we’ve established it’s not an oxymoron, how can you use data to better inspire your creative output? Here are three top tips:

1. Question before you analyze

With a plethora of data out there, it can be easy to fall into the trap of collecting as much as you can. But to really make the most of data-driven creativity, you need to be clear on the answers you want from data. Have specific questions in mind, and consider the small data. Do you want to know the competitors your audiences are interested in? Or, perhaps, the sweet spot of time when people are most likely to buy from you?

Having clear questions makes it easier to uncover what you need from the data and shape well-informed, insightful creative.

2. Make it actionable

It’s not just what you know, but how you act upon it. Utzschneider explains:

“Understanding your audience comes first, but using that information to devise more relevant, valuable, creative and empowering experiences is the path to greater business success.”

When we translate data into easily understandable insights which inform powerful creative, we unlock its true value.

3. Join the dots

Silos are one of the biggest barriers to data-driven creativity. The best results are achieved when data, creative and technology work together. We favor a collective approach here, with our data experts working collaboratively alongside creative teams and technology people, throughout the process to build on clever insights.

Want to see how data can inspire award-winning work for some of the world’s biggest brands? Check out our Creative Services page.