Modern marketing is increasingly dominated by AI. We use it to predict the success of our future campaigns, learn more about our customers, design ads, and even plot content.
What was once an industry thriving on the creative effort of humans has become a robot-infested world of number-crunching and predictive analysis.
Nonetheless, is there a way to marry these two sides of marketing? Is there a perfect balance between creative and data-driven marketing? Let’s find out.
A Case For the Robot: Benefits of Data-Driven Marketing
There’s a reason so many companies are deciding to fuel their success with data. Data helps you personalize your marketing campaigns and measure their success much more accurately. It helps guide your future decisions and enables you to futureproof your plans.
Data scientists are much more sought after than ever before. Their expertise is needed to interpret the sheer volumes of data most companies have to deal with.
Data-driven marketing has allowed us to create campaigns like never before. We can now craft ads and headlines that use the specific words our customers are searching for. We can send loyal customers or lucrative prospects gifts for their birthdays. The ultimate benefit of data-driven marketing is that it lets you base your campaigns on reliable information. That, in turn, enables you to hone your targeting and pinpoint the specific needs and preferences of your target audience.
What Happened to Being Creative?
On the other hand, we have creative marketing, or marketing as it once was.
The basic principle of creative marketing is crafting emotion-driven campaigns that tug at people’s heartstrings. The John Lewis Christmas adverts are the perfect example of these kinds of campaigns. They are built around our humanity and don’t rely on figures at all.
The main goal of a lot of creative campaigns is to go viral. This guarantees the most views, the most shares, and is most likely to result in a high return on investment.
However, certain kinds of content are more likely to be shared than others, and it’s often very difficult to predict what the public’s fancy will take to at any given point. And that makes crafting truly viral campaigns is often more a matter of luck than a matter of creativity.
Humor always works well, but as it’s highly individual, even cracking a universally appealing joke may be a tough cookie to crack.
A Marriage of Opposites: Where Creative and Data-Driven Marketing Meet
As is often the case, future marketing success lies in striking the right balance. By marrying data with creativity, you are able to achieve more than by using either approach on its own.
Given the cost of data acquisition and management and the mental demands of heightened creativity, this may come as no surprise.
The key is in using data to guide and inform your content creation. Depending on the stage of the buyer’s journey a customer is in, you can tailor your copy and your visuals to appeal to what most of your customers have responded to in the past.
Divide and conquer: use your data to fuel your email marketing campaigns, study your competition, or measure the success of your campaigns. Rely on your human, emotive, and creative talents to tell stories and communicate your values.
Remember that real-time data is a costly business and that the information you are relying on is most often already out of date. It might be outdated by a day or a week, but it is rarely 100% current. Given the fact that culture travels faster than data, in order to remain on top, you need to use your very human instincts to interpret current events, the tastes of your audience, and the shifting landscape of digital marketing.
Knowing How to Choose
Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to apply data in your marketing efforts:
- Analyze trends from one marketing channel that you can implement in another (social media to email, email to website, etc.)
- Assign KPIs to each segment of your campaign and measure your results based on these metrics.
- Analyze industry benchmarks and how they are affecting your campaigns.
- Monitor the success of your competitors’ efforts and how they are impacting their reach.
- Automate your email marketing campaigns.
- Automate a percentage of your social media marketing campaigns. For example, you can schedule a part of your posts and use automation to ensure you’re still responding to customers in real time.
And here are the instances in which you are better off remaining creative:
- Content writing
- Sales pitches
- Web design
When looked at from afar, you can clearly see the line of distinction between data and creativity. But by blurring the line just a little bit, you can achieve more than your fellow marketers simply by applying the best aspects of each approach to your own campaigns.
While many hail data-driven marketing as the next big thing in the industry (and while AI is certainly very helpful), the human brain is not likely to become obsolete just yet. Gather your data and acquire your insight, but remember to always use your own head when making decisions, be they creative, financial, or growth-oriented.