Chief Creative Officers Should Live And Breathe Data

sandrocatanzaroData-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Sandro Catanzaro, co-founder and senior vice president of innovation and analytics at DataXu.

We’ve come a long way since the Don Draper days of advertising, when creatives would drink Manhattans and come up with big ideas that would make them and their campaigns famous. Today, data has transformed the creative marketing landscape and has earned sophisticated algorithms and advanced analytics a place at the creative concepting table.

But data is not a replacement for imagination and big ideas. Far from it. It’s simply the latest tool in a creative team’s toolbox. It gives content creators never-before-seen insights into both their target audience and campaign performance results.

Charged with optimizing a brand’s creative output, chief creative officers (CCOs) are in a unique position to capitalize on data analytics. From using data to add fuel and focus to a whirring imagination to gaining leverage in the boardroom, there are several reasons why CCOs should welcome data into the creative world with open arms.

Data Enables Creative Thinking

Today’s cutting-edge marketing technologies collect and analyze complex information on everything from consumer interests to spending patterns. And these technologies are widely used.

Research shows that 76% of senior-level US marketers employ a team member responsible for marketing technology. The pervasive use of technology and data that accompanies it means that creative teams can be even bolder in their concepts, as they learn what is daring enough to attract consumers’ attention and recall without becoming too edgy and turning some consumer segments off.

When creative teams know precisely whom they are creating for, they can fashion personalized ads that resonate with consumers. Instead of coming up with one big idea to reach a nebulous mass of consumers, teams can zero in on their target demographic by using data-driven insights to create ideas geared toward distinct market segments. Personalization isn’t just an interesting add-on for consumers anymore; it’s what most expect.

With more nuanced market segments to think about and detailed behavioral information to consider through the use of data, creative teams will have more creative thinking to do – and more opportunities to produce work that is targeted – than ever before.

Data Empowers Creative Teams

Today, marketers at the highest levels of business are expected to have a deep understanding of technology. CCOs are no exception. Knowing how data and analytics work and how to leverage them to win will help CCOs succeed within their agencies and the broader industry.

Data can also reduce the need for a metaphorical crowbar to get a CCO’s latest big idea through a client’s door. With objective data to back up media plans and content ideas, CCOs and their ideas-generating team can gain greater credibility. Having solid data, such as analytics revealing exactly how an ad performs among millennials, makes it easier than a three-martini lunch to get budget approved for another campaign.

Data Maximizes Ad Effectiveness

Data also enables an advertiser or its agency to tweak and adapt campaigns to continuously improve performance. CCOs can make sure their teams adapt creative concepts based on data, rather than artistic preference, by using real-time performance results to find out what is working best and with whom.

Better campaign performance means stronger brand engagement. And with the data to explain where clicks and views came from, CCOs will at last be able to credibly champion their teams’ specific contributions to campaign success.

Big Data Enhances Big Ideas

Big data has transformed many businesses over the last decade, including overhauling IT and finance departments and reshaping sales and executive teams. But ideas people, too, have much to gain from the insights data and analytics afford. Data enables creative teams to generate new ideas, empowers creative business leaders and enhances results from the work.

Still, it is the human mind – that complex and mysterious ideas generator – which will always be the true indispensable component of business. It is the unlikely pairing of imagination and technology that achieves most game-changing results in the world. And the world of advertising is no exception.

Follow DataXu (@DataXu) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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