Targeted marketing is the buzz of the industry. Brands want to deliver it, and consumers have come to expect it.
So how can a brand do it well? The best ones integrate data and creative to yield campaigns that drive the kind of results that make marketers and executives happy.
Industry lore paints marketing as the province of the creatives. But computers and technology have been transforming the industry for a half century at least.
On “Mad Men” this past spring, the characters were debating whether the new computer (which took up an entire room!) would render Don Draper and the rest of the creatives obsolete.
But according to “In Modern Marketing, a Big Dose of Data in the Creative Juices” published on the The New York Times’ Bits blog in June, creative still has a large role to play in modern marketing agencies.
With billions of pieces of data residing in the cloud, a strategic approach to synthesizing all that information and using it to serve ads to the right people at the right time is critical to campaign success.
Consumers expect an airline to know they travel regularly on business and their preferred airports. And house hunters want to see content specific to their target city, and all the way down to whether it has tile countertops or hardwood floors.
Take the case of online real estate brokerage Redfin. “We don’t want to be annoying and call them at dinner, which is what marketing used to do,” CEO Glenn Kelman told the Times. “We want to send them just the right email or show up in their Facebook feed at just the right time with just the right house. You can call that an advertisement or you can call that a service.”
Even beyond targeted digital ads in a social media feed or appearing on the right website at the right time, big broadcast campaigns can benefit from an effective partnership between the analysts and the creative side of the house.
Telecom giant AT&T embarked on an ambitious 3-year project to analyze its own ads and those of competitors. The results drove one of its most successful ad campaigns in history and another that performed extremely well, according to AdAge.
The blockbuster campaign, starring comedian Beck Bennett and a classroom of adorable young costars, won hearts and minds on TV and across social media.
The benefit: “The rewards for AT&T are substantial, [Director of Market Research and Analysis Greg] Pharo said, with the project showing that 25% of AT&T’s total sales are driven by media advertising and 10% from TV alone. Creative quality and tonality rather than media weight or placement account for a third of TV ads’ impact.”
All the data the team crunched wouldn’t have yielded the runaway success of the campaign without the brilliant but simple creative, which was in turn driven by the data team’s findings and years of study.
So what does it all mean?
“What we don’t want to have happen is to use this very scientific tool and make creative directors go away. Data has given precision and a lot more science to these fields, but I don’t think we should do away with intuition entirely,” Fatemeh Khatibloo, a senior analyst who studies marketing and big data at Forrester Research, told the Times.