Cultivating Data-Driven Creatives

As today’s media campaigns are highly agile, continually incorporating customer feedback from a variety of sources, success in advertising hinges on the ability to make proactive and reactive decisions quickly about campaign or product metrics. Whether building apps, websites or launching major campaigns, on and offline user experience is fundamental to optimizing the performance of these offerings.

This experience depends on the output of the creative, so he or she must be cognizant of the quantitative and qualitative inputs necessary to make it effective.

Our connected age also requires the consumer experience to cohere with that of the overall brand, meaning the creative must generate output in the context of a multichannel experience taking into account the Key Performance Indicators that matter for the platform, and how engagement on that platform can influence a consumer’s propensity to make valuable engagements at other touch points. 



This requires a change in agency and brand culture that shifts the standard model for product and campaign creation, along with traditional resourcing allocations, to one where every team member, regardless of job title, stands behind the campaign mission, and the role of its touch points in achieving brand objectives. It entails getting creatives excited about the data — which could be a tough sell — but one they’ll embrace once they better comprehend the KPIs and objectives. After all, who wants to design a beautiful bike that no one will ride because it’s missing a key feature?

Capturing creatives’ interest in data is a matter of making it comprehensible to their role in the project. Instead of just informing them, for example, that a primary KPI for the design of a clothing-retailer’s website is an X-percent increase in the average order value, demonstrate how that would translate into tangible enhancements to the user experience. Explain how it is necessary to enhance how up-sells are presented on an item’s page, perhaps by integrating social content that indicates how, say, a blazer can go from day to night.

If tasked with increasing traffic referred from social channels, make sure the creative knows the types of products and creative executions that have driven previous referrals and why. Or, if the KPI of a campaign is to increase product engagement, creatives must understand that each channel will play a role in it, so they can help determine how to connect the experience by playing to the strengths and behaviors of each platform.

As the customer feedback loop is always on for any type of offering these days, creatives must also translate and incorporate ongoing quantitative and qualitative data into their work, honing in on the features or elements that users want most. Guide them with the 80/20 rule — 80% of people are only going to use 20% of the features of a given offering — to ensure they create a minimally viable product aligned with the project’s KPIs, along with budget-allocation, resources and constraints.

Convey that it’s not that they can’t brainstorm a slew of interesting features, but rather must focus on what the data says to generate ideas that would be most meaningful to the end user. Once they get that minimally viable product to market, then they can dive into ways to use incoming data to come up with further enhancements.

Involving creative team members in the hard data of a marketing campaign is critical to building a KPI-driven culture. This doesn’t mean taking away their freedom to ideate and do what they do best. It’s more about encouraging them to view data as something that can help them do their work better. When it comes to metrics, put creatives in the driver’s seat as much as possible. More often than not, this turns agency clients into repeat customers.

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