Over the past few years, technology has transformed the way businesses market and advertise. Savvy customers want a genuine connection and assurance from service providers. Because of this, marketers must decide whether to use data or creative marketing to draw in prospects. Brands will often miss the mark because they get lost in the data or focus too much on the creative.

Marketing: Right or Left?

According to conventional wisdom, there is a dichotomy between the right and left side of the brain. The right side of the brain is geared towards creativity and intuition while the left side of the brain is more quantitative and analytical.  However, there is no scientific backing to support this; new research suggests that this is an oversimplification.

Kara D. Federmeier, a cognitive neuroscientist from the University of Illinois shares that while hemispheres have specialties, creative and analytic processes happen across both sides with an intriguing interplay. In businesses, one cannot survive without both creativity and innovation alongside logic and analytics.

Data Doesn’t Drive Itself

Marketing is not new to marketing and is considered by many to be the foundation but day-to-day operations and the increased use of technology have made businesses heavily reliant on data and analytics.

Traditional tactics have been focused on the brand and persuading the audience; billboards, newspaper and TV ads required a creative and flashy mindset – one that grabs attention. However, companies are finding that data such as those from point-of-sales machines, sales information, penetration data, and other strategies like focus group insights are critical in understanding, planning, and relating to people.

The drive towards maximizing big data insights has a direct correlation to fund management and improving the bottom line. But as businesses develop immediate solutions from data, there is a tendency to lose sight of the long-term vision of the firm and the overall brand reputation and message. There continues to be challenges regarding the collation of data and effective communication with target audiences.

Data can be dry and one of the vital questions data-driven firms ask, is how to make information more contextualized, targeted, and relevant to the market. With greater insight comes a greater responsibility to utilize detailed campaigns that will generate more potential leads while creating more value for consumers.

The challenge with creativity, on the other hand, is the subjectivity of it all; people have likes and dislikes that can be as different as night and day between people of the same demographics. That is where data comes in – it offers a clear and general understanding of what will resonate with your market. Creative, data-centric company culture will definitely optimize marketing campaigns that will lead to better prospect conversions.

It’s Not Data, It’s Not Creativity

In the same manner, creativity is only half of the picture. There appears to be silent consensus that in marketing – much like most other areas – creativity and are data opposites. The bigger question is, are they mutually exclusive and the answer is no. Data elevates creativity and creativity makes data more appealing.

Technology and market research is the foundation for a creative process as it provides vital insights on niche consumer groups; data is a powerful ally of creativity as it adds emotional engagement. Combining both elements allow for an imaginative output in a quick-paced environment.

Never has there been a more symbiotic relationship but applying it in the real world is easier said than done. Marketing is forced to rely on data for proof and justification stifles creativity and results in content that is underwhelming. Handling a wealth of data daily can be overwhelming for marketing teams making an organization-wide emphasis on alignment all the more important. Accessing data, insights, and inputs across all departments allow for more informed, creative results.

According to a recent study by Walker Sands Communications, over 40 percent of US marketers revealed that a mix of both creativity and technology drives their current company strategy. Managers must recognize that they are actually complementary. Creatives thrill and data drives it home.

Social Industries have supplemented that 53 percent of surveyed marketers revealed “a demand to deliver more relevant communications/be more ‘customer-centric’” is one of the primary factors powering their data-driven marketing investments.

Marketing is more than giving people what they want to hear – getting the right message across to the right people using Data driven creatives guarantees authentic interest in your products and services. One must provide not only essential knowledge, there has to be data that backs it up.

Data-driven marketing is about responding to customer needs promptly, based on buying behavior and data collected both on and offline. These insights can be used for building better relationships, promoting customer loyalty, and improving customer lifetime value. To learn more check out our white paper The Complete Guide to Data-Driven Marketing.