Creativity is perhaps one of the most abused and misunderstood terms. It has always been subjective and will always be. I would not even try to define it and nobody ideally should. Everybody has his/her own understanding of creativity.
Einstein came close enough though:
Probably, the most famous lingo in the advertising world! "Think out of the box", "Think as if there is no box" and so forth are some of the most annoying jargons, ad makers and marketers hear every now and then from the management.
We are living in an era of disruption. Almost everything we used to do manually has been practically replaced by technology. Automation has shrunk the workforce to a significant level with better quality output and more productivity.
The advertising industry is no exception too and has changed dramatically over the years. It has witnessed a revolution with the advent of data science and analytics. Today if you run an ad and a sale happens, you know right away that there's a 34-year-old lady living in Boston purchased your bracelets having a keen interest in accessories.
That's a hell lot of information. Isn't it? DATA - this four-letter word has taken the world by storm. Big data and data science are no longer tech terms but eventually turning out to be an inseparable part for businesses to succeed in the digital landscape.
It has empowered marketers more than ever. With all these tools and resources at their disposal, they can precisely study the buyer persona and perfectly target the right audience.
The right message + The right audience + The right platform + The right time = A perfect recipe of a flawless ad campaign. You just can't go wrong!
But here's a thing! Why do most marketing campaigns STILL fail? Why do they STILL not impact on the minds of consumers? Why can people STILL not relate with it? Well, the reasons are many.
Some of the widely accepted notions if it does not work out are:
- Improper messaging, inaccurate ad targeting and buyer persona
- Wrong data analysis and insights
- Incorrect data science implementation in the first place
Well, they are spot on! I don't even have to elaborate or talk at length. Everybody knows. There is enough material out there, just Google it and there you go. You find every bit of information you need on the subject. But still, we are overlooking something! Let's find out where do we slip up.
What's the freaking issue?
The issue is that we are missing out on a critical piece. We are ignoring the most essential part - "Creativity" itself.
Creativity is a bird that cannot be caged. We are somehow defining the boundaries to think within. That's now how it works, neither it is supposed to. It cannot flourish with terms and conditions.
It often fails though, but what does not? That's part and parcel of everything we do! But that does not mean we stop being who we are and what we want to do.
Data science should revolve around creativity, but ironically, it is the other way round. It has made us so mechanical. Most of the marketers today are like horses with blinkers - One dimensional. They think in a certain limited context.
As a marketer, I understand the importance of historical data is paramount and it has to be taken in the account before strategizing any ad campaign. That is obviously the logical point, to begin with, but that's should not be sole criteria to do it. Too much logic kills creativity.
We are so scared of losing. We set our own limits and confine ourselves to the analytics playground that does not allow us to think beyond a point. We are hostile towards doing anything that goes against it.
Unconventional ideas don't survive today under the weight of data. The "Ifs" and "Buts" of data analysis knock them down right away.
Our risk-taking ability has been constantly diminishing as new ideas are being turned down. Please understand that Creativity is not technical and by doing so, we don't allow it to blossom. Hence it does never materialize and comes to fruition.
Advertising professionals are those nuts with crazy ideas full of energy! And more importantly, they are never afraid of making mistakes because that's where they learn from.
But unfortunately, they function more like an analyst and not a creative buff. It's probably because we nowadays link everything with sales and profit is the ultimate goal. That's the very first thought comes to their mind before starting off with an assignment.
But tell me, decades ago, how many cars did the billboards sale? The iconic brands like Coke, McDonald's, Nike, Volkswagon, etc did manage to be part of our lives without big data and analysis. They built their brands when there was no KPI to measure, no facebook pixel and other ad platforms to track and no CTR to review.
Of course, marketing without data is shooting in the dark! Non-data-driven advertising and marketing is a no brainer. All the brands today certainly take this factor into the account.
Data is the mind and Creativity is the heart. You need both to balance your campaign just like we do to balance our lives ( Probably not everyone :-) ). Use both proportionately. The over and under usage of any will cost you a failure. The right mix of both is the secret sauce every successful marketing campaign.
Remember, technology helps us add value to what we do, not to alter the fundamentals of our job. I might sound old school but trusting your intuition and guts is still okay. I hope you understand the nuances and find out the right way to identify your consumers and connect to them with both emotions (Creativity) and intelligence (Data)!
This article was first published here.