Data application in marketing has become more relevant than ever: if there was ever a time when decisions could rely on hunches and intuition, this is not it. Beyond evaluating the current data, we should also look at past crises to help us with our decisions today. As we discussed in the first post of this series, historical data shows us that while cutting media spend can save money in the short term, it’s often harmful to both brand and revenue in the long term.
When it comes to advertising, It’s easy to forget how much success metrics have evolved over the years and the role online media and technology have played in making ads more measurable and platforms more accountable. Digital advertising has enabled marketing teams to access higher-quality and larger volumes of data that help them make better decisions. In this ever-advancing technological world, data is no longer a superpower; if you want to stay relevant, it’s a business requirement.
This data doesn’t stop with marketing and advertising, either. It needs to be leveraged across the entire organization:
- If your product team is not already seamlessly plugged into the same data stream as your digital marketing colleagues, in an environment where they are using it daily and over-communicating, then your team is driving while blindfolded.
- If your research team is still relying on focus groups and not fully aware of what your customers are saying, and how they’re acting on digital channels, you’re missing out on key information.
- If you’re not obsessing over eliminating friction points across the entire customer journey (particularly on digital and mobile) on the back of accurate cross-platform tools, you’ll be overtaken by someone who is.
While we all benefit from innovations that enable us to track impressions and purchases more accurately, and from technologies that build better attribution models or deliver the right ads to the right audiences, disruptor brands have gained a competitive advantage by embracing technology faster. Fueled by digital advertising data, automation, un-siloed decision-making, and direct to consumer marketing, these innovators are using their data to make real-time, impactful decisions about their advertising and business. If traditional brands don’t use the current crisis to learn from those players and transform their processes, the consequences will weigh on them for years to come. One would argue this has been a long time coming, and only accelerated by a global pandemic.
Digital innovation has democratized and revolutionized the advertising industry, and inspired disruptor brands to make bold advances. But most of the work so far has focused on media optimization, which effectively comprises 30% of the equation for success. The remaining 70% lies in creative optimization, and that has remained largely untouched. Data from digital platforms will tell you whether a campaign has been successful or not, and it will also give you some good indications of why (as long as your focus is on things like tech integration, sales attribution, or sentiment analysis). But when it comes to creative, we still rely heavily on intuition, general best practices, and educated guesses. It’s time to get creative decision making into the fold and use high quality data and technology to understand creative performance and inspire how your ads look like.
If you really want to maximize your ROI, in terms of both financial and manpower, identifying the data-driven why of creative performance and applying your learnings to optimization and future iterations will not only improve your performance now, but will also accelerate your growth moving forward. As humans, it’s natural to form our own conclusions on why certain creative assets may be performing, but that’s generally dependent on our own perceptions. By finding tools that harness artificial intelligence and multitudes of data points that our brains can only fathom, we’re able to see the bigger picture and the why behind creative performance, which we in turn can apply in creative iterations. Your budgets will go much further this way.
For more on the importance of creative optimization, our eBook on Maximizing Marketing ROI with Creative Intelligence dives into the numbers behind creative decisions and why optimizing your visual assets will prove for greater return than tweaking media delivery levers.
This post is the second of a three part series on becoming a market leader through challenging times. The first, as mentioned in the introduction, addresses keeping the advertising lights on and the third portion on agility in advertising is forthcoming.