Reviewing the presentations and listening to the sidebar conversations around this week, it’s clear everyone is on board the data train. Media people led this way of thinking, but the creative minds are embracing the idea that creative can be improved when you know exactly who you’re talking to, and when you can prove the value of those conversations during a campaign or after the fact.
There was resistance from the creative sector in the past because there was pushback around the execution of data-driven creative (and for obvious reasons). The simple idea that dominated the day was dynamic creative, with multiple images dropped into a template execution, but that was too simplistic to scale and to engage the industry at scale. That was stage 1. Stage 2 is significantly more advanced, providing a more innovative opportunity for creative thinkers to put their ideas to good use.
The most advanced data-driven creative would allow the creative department to explore multiple executions, each being delivered to sub-segments of the broader audience, tailored via analytics that surface insights into the motivations of the consumer. For example, with CPG, you can pursue both price and taste and even health benefits, depending on the interests and behaviors of the audience you’re trying to reach. You can implement a multi-pronged attack that emphasizes and/or de-emphasizes different characteristics of your brand depending on the insights you have for your audience. This subtle change in strategy allows you to cast a wider net, not being forced to exclude some elements of the audience because of concerns about scale.
Even better, with targeting data you can follow that audience across devices, determining if their behaviors are indicative of a change in motivations and revising the path for the customer journey they’re following. These kinds of in-flight optimizations are impossible without data, but significantly easier when you layer data into the tech platforms that are beginning to dominate the advertising ecosystem.
Agencies used to avoid the conversation about data-driven creative for fear of losing margin on highly developed, big-idea-oriented campaigns and the production costs associated with them. But this kind of customizable, segmented approach actually creates an opportunity for more creative to be developed, which balances out the increased pressure on margins.
Regardless of the success or failure of dynamic creative, executing sub-campaigns under a master concept creates the chance to develop more diverse options and optimize in an ongoing fashion. The intelligent creative shop will recognize that pressure on margins can be battled with proof of concept by in-campaign measurement and the need to develop additional high-quality creative executions to pursue the diversity of motivations for the audience. In other words, although each ad might cost less, you can create more of them!
The creative renaissance is nearly upon us, and data is (surprisingly) driving it forward. But don’t take my word for it. Listen to the conversations going on around you all this week, and watch the press for reporting of what people are talking about. You’ll see it for yourself!