Many marketers are so overwhelmed by data they are sacrificing their creativity, says Jen Grant
In today’s data-driven world, it’s increasingly difficult to label marketing as either an ‘art’ or a ‘science’.
Marketers gain incredible insights from data, but can it quantify what makes a campaign interesting, memorable, humorous or unforgettable? How do you justify the gut feeling that your next campaign idea, brand refresh or messaging overhaul will land?
There is a balancing act for marketers when it comes to the amount of data they should be using to support their campaigns and activities – particularly when trying to convince leadership teams (who are often data-led) to support and believe in marketing efforts.
The term ‘data fatigue’ has been coined by industry figures, and it’s something many marketing departments are suffering from. In short, it means that marketers have become so overwhelmed by data – from customer sentiment to social media listening and everything in between – that they are sacrificing creativity. In fact, a study commissioned by Callcredit Information Group revealed that although 92% of marketing professionals recognised data as “key to achieving targets”,
72% of those surveyed also believed it had negatively impacted the creative aspect of their work
It’s vital to successful marketing operations that a balance between both ‘art’ and ‘science’, or left brain and right brain thinking, is promoted from the very top of the business all the way through to the marketing department. Without this support, it is unlikely that true creativity – the lifeblood of successful marketing – will be achieved.
It’s also critically important for employees to feel ownership over their individual areas. While it’s easy for those in more senior roles to say, “just do it like this”, it’s always more effective to let people own their ideas from a brand perspective. Yes, give your team a little bit of feedback, but don’t be too specific or you may hinder their creativity.
Employees should be allowed the freedom to make their own decisions and take risks. While this might be difficult, marketers need to trust their gut when it comes to giving employees creative license. This trust might also take a while to learn but will foster creative and successful teams in the long-term. Once employees are confident enough to follow and test their ideas, they can go back to the data to measure and improve their actions.
Looking specifically at the data aspect, one of the main causes of ‘data fatigue’ is the lack of an intelligent data analytics tool (or employee training for that tool) that can cut through the noise, both for marketing and for those within the wider business. Data can rally people together around a problem or an idea, but without the proper training, or data process, employees can be resistant to trust the data and fall into separate silos with their own creative ideas. After all, everyone has their own personal strengths, their own slants towards ‘scientific’ and ‘creative’, but both sides must function collaboratively and effectively for true success.
By implementing a smart business intelligence platform, marketers who effectively utilise data analytics can maintain the creative freedom necessary to conceive and implement successful campaigns, while still being able to test, hone, and prove their results to other business departments.
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