Marketing creativity has died right when we need it most. Although the exact time of its recent demise is uncertain, there’s no question about the cause: asphyxiation beneath an avalanche of data.
Yes, data has greatly improved marketers’ ability to track performance, but it’s had the unintended consequence of transforming marketers from a creative “brain force” into a hands-on-keyboard labor force. And when you add in the hyper-segmentation that now drives marketing strategy, it’s clear that creativity’s fate was sealed.
Today, marketers start with audience selection, then develop creative intended to resonate with specific market niches. They make decisions based on audience behavior—how and when they engage, etc. They rely on a continuous performance feedback loop to shape and optimize future campaigns. A low barrier to entry results in a crowded marketplace, with a focus on numbers rather than creativity. Marketers spend the majority of their time organizing data rather than using it in ways that drive creativity.
Does all that work? Yes. Does it leave the audience wanting more? Absolutely.
Is there hope for creativity’s resurrection? Without a doubt.
Art and Science
Marketers are struggling within a paradigm in which data and creativity are at odds with one another: To be creative is to innovate and try new things; to be data-driven is to go with what you know works based on the numbers.
The key to art and science living in harmony is… automation.