Data or Creativity?

Had an interesting chat with an old colleague of mine the other day who came through the old school marketing ranks (to be fair, so did I), he spent a lot of time in a senior data role in a telecoms company we both worked for; and he has kept the strong ethos that marketing should be strongly data-led first and foremost, it should be the driving force behind the strategy and tactics of the business.

I disagree to some extent, there are obviously times when data is incredibly important (predominately if you are doing some qualitative research on what your target market(s) think about you or you are analysing analytics from campaigns or web site etc), but this should only inform you and not be the single driving force behind any major business decisions or campaigns.

Data (just like technology) enables opportunities for marketers, but the creativity is where the real value is created.

I think we see this problem occurring everyday, big brands push their flashing advertising on us, but very little of it sticks in the minds of the consumers – they lack the creativity needed to be memorable (and therefore successful), I’m sure the data says the execution was perfect, but if it doesn’t hold consumers interest or create that desire, you’ve lost the war.

So yes, data is important, let it drive discussion and debate in the boardrooms (I’m all for that), but never let it drive business decisions; creativity is what’s needed to drive the creation of the value, and it’s this value which will ultimately decide whether your strategies and tactics are successful.

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