When Data meets Creativity. Chapter 1

“Throughout history, the technology always comes first. It’s just technology for a while, until the day we artists inherit it.” Lee Clow, TBWA\Worldwide

I decided to share today something more than my perceptions. This is a first post from a list of many to come, as the subject at hand is quite complex. Some time ago I finished an elaborate research project. My endevour took a lot of work and about six months to put together. More than 60 professionals active on the Dutch market (many thanks to Kingsday for the support) and some kick ass data analysis (huge thanks to Francesca Sotgiu for her guidance).

Its goal was to shed light onto a topic much talked about – data, analytics and the ad industry- by presenting the current status of marketing and advertising analytics: what influences its adoption, what impact it has on agencies, clients and particularly on ideation itself (the core of the industry, of course) and, probably mostly importantly, if it leads or if it will lead to a new era of creativity.

“It has been said that the era of Big Data began at the point at which the cost of storing data dropped below the cost of deleting it.” (Hofacker et al., 2016)

But curiously enough, the term big data is already considered too general or even

“too simplistic and potentially misleading […] the real value is not in the large volumes of data but what we can now do with it […] In effect what big data should really stand for is smart data and whilst I think the term big data will disappear in time.” ( Bernard Marr , 2015)

Many of us might think, that by now, the ad industry has understood the importance of data and that they are using analytics on a daily basis. The reality is a bit more complex than that. As we are not all McCann Japan. And as today there are many mixed feelings about data. Mostly driven from a lack of knowledge and skills. Or due to its complexity and tech limitations. And as agencies and clients do not really share their data or technologies. Or just some old fashion belief that creativity is inherently human. And I am not saying this top of head, I came upon these findings during my research. You could say this is a sneak pick into some of the conclusions.

I will leave you (for now) with this quote from one of my interviews. It might give you some food for thought, if you are interested in the matter.

“Everybody in the marketing and advertising industry is in a discovery phase. Some are leading the path because of their digital legacy, others like bigger advertising agencies start to discover data and what it can do to their business. For example, from a media agency point of view, data is the core of their business. However, agencies measure different things, they are either focused on branding or on sales, for example, so we are dealing with different types of analytics […] We can say it’s not about if branding is successful or if sales are successful, it’s all about if the customer journey is successful.”  (Head of Strategy, ad agency)

Until next time…

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