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Nick Bennett

Strategy Director

When Data & Creativity Collide

The term data-driven marketing is becoming oh so common - and, I’ll be honest and come clean and say that is a good thing. For many, it is used to reinforce how strategy and planning are critical to developing great content.

Fundamentally - this is a simple concept and from a planner perspective - it is somewhat critically paramount. Data has so many uses - enabling us to segment, develop a position, leverage consumer understanding and then deliver personalized messages for those individuals at the time they are most active and susceptible for that message.

Therefore, the question now is how do we make best-use of this data. How can we reach these people and how can we blend creative instincts with data to deliver a faultless approach.

Well here are a few tips....

Contextualize and make the data relevant

Solely relying on data to develop a strategy can actually be detrimental to your long-term marketing and business objectives. Numbers and insights are your foundation to help brainstorm new and creative ideas, but it takes more than just data to bring people towards your brand.

Connecting with audiences is vital, but a connection is now just an impression - it goes far deeper. It is easy to see that in certain industries we have started to over-rely on data to make decisions about what content to create. It’s easy and all too common to assume that one successful campaign with impressive numbers will resonate with people again and again. It’s like having a creative director in the building who just wants to press the repeat button. Our viewpoint at Rawnet is one of all ideas are welcome - from the newest to the oldest member of staff.

The rise in ‘modern’ content marketing has forced the entire industry to move away from the old ways of traditional advertising. Long gone is the mass advertising, one message approach - pushed out with a finger in the air of hope to sense and understand its resonance with the consumer. Content marketing does the opposite - and those most active in agency and client circles work hard to create individualisation and see positive results from this rolled-up-sleeves approach.

The most successful teams are those that:

-Engage and create relationships with customers

-Undertake original research, not relying on what exists already

-Understand clients, their behaviours and motivations

-Identify the real challenges that obstruct customer objectives for growth

All of these points are crucial to becoming an effective content marketer. Who better to acquire feedback about the most interesting and engaging types of content than the people who are already engaged with the content you create?

It’s easy to forget that customers are more likely to advocate a brand or product if they feel connected to it. Reading and receiving content that speaks directly to their concerns, will inspire people to share that content with others in their networks. The content should be bold, have a definitive approach and be unique from other content. Collaboration between data and creativity is at this point at its strongest point.

Fine Line Time

Many misunderstand the relationship between data and creativity. Neither should take a back-seat, instead, together they can be potent. Like with many things in life, there’s a thin line between the two practices that you must walk to achieve success.

Each team needs to work together - building this relationship between agency, client and internal team is absolutely vital and should create an environment where all can express creative ideas when new demands are placed on the table.

Data provides amazing background insight and will determine who you need to reach. Find what were the triggers of existing customers, and the messaging that got them to convert. This should be at the centre of any creative sessions you then hold, finding how to extend that reach to a whole new potential area of customers. Remember, this takes time. It will not happen overnight and you need to gain authority first to convince and convert.

The Customer Journey Myth

We’ve heard this one a thousand time - learn your customer journey…

Pretty obvious yeah?

It boils down to this though. When people search for solutions to their problems, they want easy-to-digest answers.

We can learn so much from behaviour online, be it analysing keyword searches, search intent, average time spent on web pages, and where prospects dropped off your site. All of this is rich data and will contribute toward a journey where you can then target them. However - don’t think of the journey as a single one.

Aligning content to the customer and their needs is what is required, and the journey stages they go through will be heavily varied. Therefore, creating content and creativity should be focused on a longevity approach that can have a meaningful impact in month one of the first view, and then one 18 months later. Getting the data first though is still critical as it will help you in developing buyer personas. These personas will enable you to create customised content that speaks directly to the questions and concerns of your target audience - at the time and moment that are seeking for it.