The most effective marketing and communication will be when you are speaking to the right person with the right message. This requires both Data and creativity as too much of one or the other will never generate the optimum results. For example, a great database supported by statistics on behaviour needs an innovative, visually appealing solution to create the kind of response you would really like. Think of it as ticking boxes AND making the heart tick a little faster.
I have read that many big brands try and keep Data and creativity apart in an effort to ring-fence the creative process. This would seem more important for larger organisations who are particularly Data heavy but I can't help feeling it is trying to treat the creative process as something that needs to be contained. Perhaps we are putting too much importance on the data that we are now able to collect? Stats can be incredibly comforting and many marketeers like to be re-assured by them. Great marketeers, however, let their gut instincts do a fair amount of talking too.
I believe that just because we can't quantify creativity, we should not let it sit in the shadows of Data. So, here are my top tips for managing the balance:
Know which Data is actually useful to you
You can be almost certain you don't need all the stats that you could collect.
Trust your gut
Don't let a good creative idea be watered down too much.
Take calculated risks
Make sure it will work with your key audience but don't be afraid to go out on a limb as the rewards could be surprising.
Make sure the execution is to the highest standard. After all, you've done all the hard work so don't fall down at the last hurdle.
Really great design still has the power to do everything it always has and needs to work in harmony with insightful Data. Otherwise a Data focussed marketeer might find safety in numbers and, through statistical processes, filter out the charm and quirks that a brand possesses, resulting in bland forgettable work. The most successful campaigns balance the right amount of Data and creativity, resulting in relevant and exciting outcomes.