You’d have to be returning from a 10 year long retreat in Nepal to have missed the meteoric rise of technology-based marketing in the last few years. In particular, the drive towards using customer data insights to help us deliver communications to the right people, at the right time and with the right message.
Marketers can now develop programs of activity based on knowledge, evidenced by what customers actually buy and respond to. At long last, we can remove guesswork from the equation and allow science and logic to prevail.
It's, of course, vital to understand the numbers but to totally rely on analytics means we can be mesmerised into not thinking about why customers engage with a brand or business and fail to see what truly motivates them – engages with them.
There's a danger that, with our current obsession with data we forget about how great creative strategy and execution taps into people’s emotions, breaking through the clutter and provides real meaning and context to our marketing.
Don’t get me wrong, I'm an absolute advocate of data driven marketing, however, I am also absolutely convinced the most effective, sustainable customer engagements are achieved when there is a blend of creative and data thinking.
Integrate creativity and data insight
By creativity, I don’t simply mean creative execution of a marketing idea. A recent Forrester Research paper concluded that “Companies embracing creativity in their business thinking outperform peers and competitors on many key business indicators, including revenue growth and market share by as much as 10%.”
Having a creative focus doesn’t mean we have to push data to a secondary position. Customer insight should be used to direct and influence creative approaches. The most effective companies bring their creative and data teams together integrating them at the point of execution and delivery for maximum customer engagement.
A company can have the most effective customer insight program and yet its campaigns will fail without a great creative base. Use data to support your creative strategy not replace it. Combine brilliant creative and data insight and you’ll produce winning customer engagements that power your success.
The Insight People
Gerry Stockley, a Fellow of The Institute of Direct Marketing, is founder and managing director of The Insight People combining strategy, creative and data to provide clients with winning customer engagement programs.