A call for creativity

Data and technology are not the answer to your marketing problems. I’m not saying this to “get a click” or to be contrarian. In fact, I spend my days in the creative department of a data- and insight-driven marketing agency. What I am saying is that for all the emphasis that agencies and clients put on data management, collection and measurement, we as an industry have begun to deemphasize the value of human intuition and marketing acumen.

And that’s a bad thing.

It’s bad for the creative-types who have seen their knack for understanding language and design marginalized in favor of tested-into templates and keyword approved support points, but also for consumers who are being stalked, analyzed and marketed to like they’re stuck in a bad Pavlovian experiment. That’s a touch of hyperbole, but when you think about all of the things that create great advertising and marketing — copy that winks or grabs, design that breathes, film that raises the hair on your arms — these are human qualities.

Just take a look at some of the more lauded and successful marketing in the last several years: Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign, Tourism Queensland’s “The Best Job in the World” and finally Apple’s “Mac vs PC.” None of those campaigns preclude a forward-thinking use of social media or data capture, but each one is, at its root, an achievement in writing, design and creative thought.

Every successful piece of marketing demands an ingenious marketer behind it. It is composed of craftsmanship, gut instinct and an uncanny ability to read attitudes of fellow consumers that make great ads, not access to data points and new social listening tools.

Our ability to collect and measure data and derive insights about how people behave is not in itself a detriment to the craft of marketing. Rigorous thinking around how we drive response, sell hard and smart and market through the right media channel is crucial to our success as marketers.

What is detrimental is the growing thought that somehow our technological advances and proprietary tools alone will lead us to valleys filled with ROI and gold medals. After all, you know what data and technology are without expert craftsmen and great marketing minds? 1’s and 0’s.

Matt Blint is an associate creative director with Rapp in Los Angeles.

Related Posts