Data vs. Creativity in Advertising

The buzzword these days is big data. We have access to more data now than ever before. Sometimes there is too much data out there for us to even try to make sense of, let alone act on. But never-the-less we take on this task in our advertising, always striving to optimize our campaigns. And why not? We want to get the best bang for our buck right? But how much better are these insights compared to simply guessing? At what point do we see diminishing returns in data? What i mean by this is…at what point does diving into the data take so much of our resources that it no longer outweighs the marginal ROI it might bring us? As we become more data oriented, will it hurt our creativity?

There are a few things that I want to make sure I focus on before I get bogged down with endless potential questions related to this topic.

1) what is more important in advertising, the data, or the creative?

This is a tough question, mainly because you would ironically need data to answer it. Because I do not have that, I cannot fairly answer this question here, but I can juxtapose an answer based off of my experiences. My answer is simply: both are important, which leads to my next question:

2) how can data and creative work together in the right balance as to take advantage of the strengths of both?

I believe we can come to a [somewhat] optimal point of intersection between looking at data to optimize our advertising campaigns in a way we can prove effective, but be innovative enough in our approach that we do not become robotic.

One reason why I think there are limitations to data, and why we ultimately need creativity at the very least to compliment data, is because people are always evolving. The perfect advertising strategy of yesterday can seem obsolete a month later. For one, there are always new, emerging technologies: new devices, new apps, new capabilities…Our pop culture trends are always shifting as well. “What are the kids into these days?” — A fair question because you never really keep up.

At the end of the day, I think we need innovative advertising and then use data to measure success and optimize from there. Otherwise, we have nowhere to optimize from. Although there is so much data available to us, it is still imperfect. We need to figure out things like attribution and viewability to make our consumer data more valid.