Blog | 3 January 2017

Technology and data in marketing- help or hindrance?

We have seen the migration of consumers onto digital channels and this has led to a big shift in priorities for agencies who are having to integrate their digital communications deeper than ever before.

It has provided them with an overwhelming amount of information to access in real-time, leading to investments in developing analytical models that can make sense of this data, as advertisers and marketers alike continue to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their digital campaigns. Creative minds have expressed serious concerns with this ongoing data frenzy, worrying that it will slow down or stagnate the creative process. So what implications, if any, does this deluge of data have for the creative process?

It is important to remember that data is clearly not new to the marketing world. Market research, and most importantly, consumer insight provides detailed data sources that help to give agencies appreciation of the type of audience that they need to communicate to, thus helping to get the ball rolling on creative brainstorming. One of the differences with data collected like this today is ultimately due to the development in technology. As a result of the increased internet and mobile use by consumers, we end up with much more data that has to be collated and mined, making it hard to sift through the most important parts and resulting in time being wasted in some respects.

On the other hand, this type of data can help to stimulate new levels of customisation for creative projects that are driven by the data collected and based on these consumer needs. It leads to a highly targeted approach, especially in the creative sense, as it can be used to guide the creative output as well as measure the ensuing outcome.

Despite this, people still have data hang-ups, saying that it can lead to confusion, that it causes a barrier to progress and hinders the flow of creativity by trying to control and monitor everything that is being done throughout the creative process. But maybe the problem lies in the agencies themselves: there aren’t enough people with the talent and creative ingenuity which will turn that data they collect into the next big ideas.

Another way that agencies can help integrate data into their creative process smoothly is to stop thinking of it in such a technological way and understand instead that when used correctly, it helps to generate new imaginative awareness that can lead to creative opportunities.

“Good judgement will be based on data one way or another – it might not be numbers on a spreadsheet, but it will be data and insight gleaned from previous experience and results.”

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts UK Chief Marketing Officer, Judith Denby.

Alex Marks
Alex Marks
Strategy Consultant

Alex supports the strategic development of River's business and acts as an experienced marketing partner for our client teams. He is a regular commentator, writer and conference speaker on a wide variety of digital,  marketing,  and content strategy issues.