Data fed – Creative led
by Dave McRobbie, Digital Strategist

Data fed – Creative led

Many reading this piece will be working with a number of different digital, social, marketing and PR agencies, different software vendors, partners, suppliers – all focused on delivering increased visibility, increased conversions and ultimately increased income into your business.

It’s a lot to do – it’s a lot to manage and in a digital industry that is rapidly becoming more confusing, contradictory and in many ways expensive – and it can take a disproportionate amount of your time as a professional marketer.

And, at the centre of this work, these relationships, work streams, investments and budgets is the customer and their emotional capital. Sometimes it is incredibly difficult to manage and balance these competing streams of work, partners and priorities to ensure that the customer is not turned off/disconnected by a piece of creative/marketing/advertising that was created to engage.

Our answer to this as an industry has been mining for data – loads of data, more and more data – Google, Facebook, agencies and management consultancies have told us that data-led insight is the only way to succeed in creating loyalty, brand recognition and excellent customer experiences.

Whilst I don’t disagree with the need for the right type of data – and indeed work hard to understand this – I believe that we are missing a touch of humanity.

In our thirst for data to inform decision making we tend to overlook our professional capability, our shared creativity and at the core the fact that we are all human and (I hope) empathetic to others needs – including our customers.

We’ve all seen and experienced (in my mind) poor examples of this desperation for data ourselves;

  • Can you complete the questionnaire that appears in a pop up in your browser?
  • Can you answer a couple of emailed or texted questions?
  • Can you press a red, amber or green button on how clean the toilets were?

No – I can’t. I expect the toilets to be clean. I’ve completed the task I wanted on the website. I have completed my transaction with you. Go away..

In creating effective and human led experiences I consider that we need to look toward a simple balance – namely data-fed, creative-led experiences/collateral/assets/campaigns/marketing. And indeed, this is a core principle behind EUX and where the future of building trust-based relationships with customer lay.

This rather crude sketch highlights what I mean:

Diagram depicting Data Fed - Creative Led discussed in this article

Data provides a retrospective view on what has happened. It tells you how successful your ideas have been received by your customer. It gives you historical trends and indicators as to what may happen in the future – but much like football pundits – it can’t predict the future and in the ill-informed, subjective hands – it may get it wrong.

Creative takes you forward. It takes a more human perspective – pulling together the learning from the data and understandings of human behaviour, need and wants. It can design the future, it can influence your customers engagement and interactions in a much more sustainable manner than data alone.

It creates (and should be focused on) longer term retention and engagement. It creates fun, memories and loyalty.

And at the centre of the data and the creative are your customer’s emotions. Data feeding into the nuance, the detail, the location of buttons, the words used, the pictures seen. Creative leading the emotional engagement, the messaging, attracting the attention and creating the loyalty.

In a world striving to gain people’s attention and to build trust, being able to link together creative ideas, data insight and emotional responses provides, in my mind, a significant competitive advantage.

UX Consultant Emma Peters

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