For many professionals and industry leaders, creative data will be leading the next decade’s creative revolution allowing marketing teams and brands to increase retention and avail new businesses opportunities faster.
The questions remain: where is data most useful within marketing campaigns? How should it flow between departments within a company? What differentiates between the “integrators” from the others?
Data should be utilised throughout the whole campaign process, according to Jean-Christophe Conti, CEO of VIOOH, a digital out-of-home (OOH) marketplace. “From informing creative executions based on audience insights, to planning how to best build cross-media campaigns programmatically that enable multi-channel messaging, and finally through to the execution, where learnings can be applied during the campaign to enable in-flight optimisation across channels,” he summarises. He believes that this applies to not only brand-led but also to performance-driven campaigns.
Mike Gray, head of client strategy & engagement at MiQ, a programmatic media partner, agrees with Jean-Christophe that data is paramount and equally important throughout the campaign lifecycle, from planning to execution and beyond. “A digital campaign without a data-led and informed planning approach is a recipe for disaster. A data-led pre-campaign approach offers you deep insights before a pound or dollar is spent, which also creates your campaign strategies to deliver super targeted and efficient performance.”
For Mike, mid-campaign data is rich, real-time and massively relevant to test and learn on the fly. “If you’re not optimising or tweaking campaigns on a daily-basis, you’re not taking advantage of marginal gains available,” he mentions emphasising that these data signals and results offer applicable insights to ensure you can continually improve campaign performance.
Finally, post-campaign data interrogation is important and lends an opportunity to understand all of the above, in Mike’s view. As with any successful digital marketing campaign, the post-campaign completes the lifecycle and is the foundation for the next planning phase or iteration, he states. “By utilising the data, trends and performance, it creates the basis for planning the next campaign”.
Jean-Christophe says that data powers everything they do within VIOOH, from product and development to marketing and HR. “Great creatives informed by data are only half of the formula to achieving memorable advertising; ensuring that the execution is relevant, seen in the right context, and by the right audience is just as critical”.
On the other hand, Mike points out that the objective of many digital campaigns is being able to deliver a seamless omnichannel experience, where creative plays a major part in that quest; across the likes of search, social, display, digital out of home, audio and connected TV. “The data and learnings need to flow across these channels, not just the departments. The creative output should be informed by each channel’s performance and engagement, not treated ‘in-silo’ or judged independently if the goal is sequential storytelling or driving an action.”
As we all know consumers engage differently across multi-channels. Creative messaging that works across social will differ from display, where you will have a different creative challenge such as banner blindness. Building creatives informed by data across each of those iterations, but still telling a connected story is difficult and also requires a very different skill set.
For Mike, “both the data-led planning and post-campaign insights will direct you towards higher-impact formats, making use of a different canvas to create more gamification or interactive creatives to continue your story or messaging.” The best marketers use the data and learnings from every single channel to understand what could be applicable to improve engagement and performance in others. “If marketers are condensing their programmatic TV advertising into video form and expecting the same results in a display environment, they will be in for a surprise.”
Integrators seem to be industry MVPs but what differentiates them from others?
The first hurdle is accessing and gathering aggregate data from within a walled digital world which isn’t always easy, in Mike’s opinion. “What differentiates these marketing ‘integrators’ is that they’ve already built or organised the infrastructure to enable this interrogation digitally,” this process is impossible to do effectively and at scale on a spreadsheet. “Marketers that are thinking about technology and connecting their multiple data sources and digital signals are already a few steps ahead.”
For Mike, these “integrators” are thinking as much about analytics, automation and testing capabilities, as they are about the concept of “creativity”; they aren’t just thinking about how a DCO (Dynamic Creative Optimisation) campaign performs, where products are presented based on historical browsing, but they are actually thinking about how they can use data science to execute a predictive DCO execution. “The ‘integrators’ are thinking where they use multiple connected data sources, insights and modelling to predict accurately the right message to show their new customers and what they want to buy next, where the creative experience is practically 100% accurate.”
Jean-Christophe shares an example to illustrate that the ability to understand both “the head and the heart” (data and creativity), and use one to inform and amplify the effect of the other, is what makes great marketing, that is able to create a competitive advantage. He mentions the Burger King “Traffic Jam Whopper” campaign execution, which used real-time data to detect the potential audience stuck in traffic jams, and then served them dynamic OOH placements for the creative execution. According to him, Burger King reported a 63% increase in delivery orders within 1 week, and a 44x increase in daily app downloads. “This intelligent use of data, married with a great creative idea, is what separates the ‘integrators’ from everyone else.”
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Original image by Vinicius "amnx" Amano on Unsplash.