Meet Today's Analytic Creative

With the flood of available data, creatives need to work both sides of the brain

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A new type of creative is emerging, and he or she may finally put to rest the age-old stereotype of the right-brained prima donna oblivious to the realities of clients' businesses.

The growing influx of data-driven insights is by necessity moving beyond researchers and planners to where it can be utilized for the greatest advantage. As a result, today's creative needs to bring left and right brain together to produce inspired and measurably effective marketing programs. This environment is fostering the development of a new breed: the "Analytic Creative."

As every marketer knows, the ubiquity of cross-linked, digital media is enabling data capture on a massive scale. eMarketer reports that the average person in the UK, for example, has over 3,000 pieces of personal information stored about him or her every week, from details about web, social and mobile phone use to shopping behaviors, banking habits, loyalty program usage and even their locations throughout the day.

This flood of incoming digital data will only continue to build. Mobile marketing spending, to pick just one data-rich channel, is expected to increase 1,200% to $24 billion by 2016, according to ABI Research.

The Analytic Creative
The Analytic Creative

The result is that marketers applying analytic techniques to digital data have been rewarded with a growing bounty of insights. But their enormous potential value will only be realized if they cross the chasm between the analysts who derive them and the creatives who develop the ideas, programs and communications that connect with consumers.

The ability to develop inspired, right-brain solutions within a strategic framework of actionable intelligence is the creative currency of a data-driven age … and the real power of the Analytic Creative.

Their opportunity for advantage could not be larger: creating pin-point accurate programs that optimize brand engagement by delivering the right message to the right person at the right moment.

Bridging the chasm, of course, requires engineering on both sides: data analysts who understand the needs of creatives, and creatives who understand the implications of data-derived insights and can act on them. It's an issue and opportunity many are wrestling with, so it can be helpful to share progress.

Recently, our analytics group started partnering proactively with creative groups to determine what kinds of information would be helpful to them and in what form. The result was the development of a proprietary tool that packages data in an intuitive, visual way, enabling creatives to manipulate information themselves to provide actionable insights.

The tool is currently designed around existing digital marketing channels, but we are continually evolving it as more media becomes addressable at the individual or household level.

Clearly, however, this is just scratching the surface of the real opportunity to unlock the power of the Analytic Creative.

As data-driven insights continue to change the world of marketing, the identification and cultivation of creative talent will need to change with it. The sources of talent will need to broaden as the expectations continue to grow, and the development of those identified reinvented and reprioritized. The opportunity, however, will more than reward the effort, as brands begin to enjoy more engaging and effective marketing efforts, and consumers enjoy participating in programs carefully designed to meet their needs, fit their interests, and deliver more valued brand experiences.

William Rosen is North America president and chief creative officer at Arc Worldwide, the marketing services arm of Leo Burnett Group. He may be reached at [email protected]
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