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Have you read the job descriptions that companies are writing nowadays as they search for marketing candidates? From what I can see, it sounds like every company wants all their marketing staff to only know how to leverage and understand data analytics and the technology without understanding the foundational elements of marketing itself. Just a hint to those who are in this camp, a data-only marketing team isn’t the only game in town; beware it just may be hurting your brand.
To be clear, I do agree the data component of marketing is very important, however, so is the customer path, content development and creativity – so how come companies are not looking for skills and talents in staff that know how to creatively come up with an idea and craft a sales promotional or brand message that triggers a response? Is this not important any longer? What about developing a wildly creative idea that nobody in your space has tried yet and launching it with the brand audacity? Has big data kicked creativity to the curb? Maybe the art of creativity in marketing just isn’t working any longer because big data has told us so. Or maybe the human experience factor in marketing is equally as important as the information big data reveals. Hmm…
“Big data has helped SproutLoud identify top of the funnel prospects through online content consumption combined with monitoring visits to our web site and those of our competitors. We then progress the conversation to a more personalized voice at highly targeted corporate positions with thoughtful and educational content we know these executives are seeking. We have learned along the way the old adage that “less is more” continues to resonate with our buyers. A creative first impression is what continues to drive our momentum. Big data points us in the right direction and creative messaging takes us home.”
– Gary Ritkes, Managing Partner: President – SproutLoud
Marketing teams that are more actuarial in nature just may have supplanted creative marketers. I feel compelled to say something to companies who think they are probably doing the right thing based on what data tells them. I have spent a career in marketing in agencies, corporate and consulting realms so I think my perspective is not too far off reality. If marketing is headed full steam in a one-dimensional direction that is exclusively about data… soon the creative, intrapreneurial thinkers will be moving on to other careers and the data analysts will run marketing operations completely. Hmm… let’s see how that works.
Marketing is not just technology and data integration, it’s also balancing the information that impact emotion, people, behavior, excitement, energy, motivations, content, creativity and delivery channels.
Marketing And Consumer Logic
Marketers know that logic can come in many forms and is not always consistent. Analysts on the other hand also know that consumer logic can be revealed through data. As I think about these two, I sense that the marketing world may be combining the two and calling them “marketing logic” as a universal term to be used and incorporated by all — when in fact, consumer logic and marketing logic are completely separate. Let me explain.
I do agree that that marketing teams can capture a better definition of consumer logic through the use of data gathered through multiple touch points over time. Yes, I do mean multiple. However, marketing logic is not just that. It is that and so much more. It also includes many other critical areas that need to be included in the marketing process. Things like persona development, communication preferences, comparative and competitive analysis, benefits, brand and product strengths and weaknesses, creative messaging and content development, emotional connections, customer path, developing marketing qualified leads, creating energy and excitement and selecting how to deliver your messages at the right time for the right reason to the right person — and these are just a few. As you can see, consumer logic by the numbers is not the same as the holistic perspective and practice of brand marketing logic. It’s really just a sub-set of that. Let’s see what Harvard Business Review has to say about this paradigm quandary.
“Just as the most creative marketers aren’t the best people, analytic professionals usually lack the skills, the experience and perhaps even the internal wiring to excel at brand, image and creativity.” – Harvard Business Review (November 2015)
The Marketing And Big Data Balancing Act
Let’s face it, marketing teams cannot be one-dimensional in either data or creative delivery – the combination of both must be balanced to integrate the strengths of both in order to accomplish marketing that is effective. I could look at marketing analytics all day and look for trends, nuances of those trends and even reveal some low-light discoveries that could emerge as important initiatives to work on down the road. But, if I relied exclusively on data to drive my marketing, how in the world would everything else that has to do with marketing get accomplished if all my team was focused on data? An article in the November 2015 Harvard Business Review titled Don’t Let Big Data Bury Your Brand summed it up perfectly. “Numbers only get you so far. After that, it’s all up to the people getting it right.”
There must be a balance between both data and creative worlds and this is like a pendulum swing that will be more data sometimes and more creative output other times. When done right, it can be a very powerful combination of intellect, ideas, creativity, energy, technology, passion and innovation all in one potent package. I call that brand audacity… being bold enough to say it, feel it, drive emotional connections and create the “wow” in your marketing. Now that’s what I want in my marketing and I would think you would too!
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Scott MacFarland – Digital Marketing Strategist
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