How to generate data-driven creatives by leveraging data
Summary Creativity, in order to be effective, must always start from data, because there can be no successful marketing strategy if you…
Creativity, in order to be effective, must always start from data, because there can be no successful marketing strategy if you do not first know your target (or, better, your targets) and if you do not measure the results of your campaigns. Today, the type of data available to companies is varied, but only one is the breakthrough of one-to-one digital communication, the true boost of data-driven creativity.
Think about one of the most mind-blowing works of human creativity of all time: the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel created by Michelangelo.
The first thing that strikes us is the artist’s limitless genius, something that can hardly be taught. But if we go beyond the first impression, the one that leaves us amazed and speechless, we discover that it takes much more than that to realize such a work.
Not only brilliant intuition. Not just boundless creativity. But rigor, information, data, technique.
Think of the meticulous organization of the work. Think of the need for scaffolding and tools, the concrete and mathematical reasoning to decide how to subdivide the entire surface to be painted. Then you have to think about all the proportions, the most suitable techniques, how long it will take the fresco to dry.
But that’s not all. Then there are the clients: in this case, the papacy… which is certainly not an easy client! There is a question of timing to respect, but also of ethical and aesthetic values within which to move. Moreover – even if we are talking about many centuries ago – the economic aspects are anything but secondary (in short, there is a “budget” to be met, we would say today).
Last but not least, there is the audience: what will people think of this work? How will they relate to it? What will it mean to admire this masterpiece from below, at a distance, while the artist and his helpers have made it just a few inches away from their noses?
We wanted to begin with this example, because it clearly demonstrates something we don’t often think about: even the best creativity cannot do without rigorous data as well as the ever-present and ever-important influence of the recipients (what, in marketing terms, we would call “targets”).
Fantasy not supported by rationality bears no fruit, it remains unexpressed, it remains an abstraction. At the same time, rigor without creative impulse is something very sterile, just a cold set of processes.
So, what is the road to success?
Very simple, at least in words: combine creativity and data, imagination and rigor. Even further, make sure that these two elements constitute the start of a virtuous circle.
Now let’s get out of the metaphor. Let’s move from the Italian Renaissance to our time, that of Digital Transformation. Let’s move from the world of art to that of marketing and communication.
Perhaps none of us is endowed with the genius of Michelangelo; but we have an advantage: our age is the one that has the widest availability of data at its disposal since the beginning of history.
In 2020, every single human generated – on average – 1.7 megabytes of data per second (techjury.net). A statistic that makes your head spin!
The topic is vast, and this is certainly not the place to exhaust it. What we’re interested in doing here is to delve into the field of data-driven creativity. Then we’ll go even deeper, to focus on the types of data that companies can collect and analyze. Finally, we’ll tighten the circle around the most effective data-driven creative tool for marketers: personalized video.
Data-driven creativity: what is it? Why is it essential?
Let’s start with a brief definition: data-driven creativity is about creating marketing and communication strategies starting from the data of one’s own customers (potential and actual). All with the help of systems of insight, analysis, and interpretation (from Artificial Intelligence to Machine Learning). The goal is to create campaigns that are as personalized as possible, in order to increase performance and maximize ROI.
The perspective is win-win: customers receive tailored content, of value, based on their interests. Brands improve their performance according to all indicators: from conversion rate to loyalty…all while optimizing economic investments.
The data-driven dynamic can (and must) be applied to all the stages of a creative campaign: from the preventive analysis of sentiment (and its variations), to the segmentation of the target in clusters with homogeneous characteristics, up to the actual personalization (which we will return to at the end of the post).
Another aspect to be taken into consideration is the one related to the final stages of a creative campaign: the analysis of results and feedback is also a data-driven operation; a decisive moment that allows you to continuously re-calibrate your strategies based on the actual audience responses, obtaining a continuous improvement in performance.
For now, let’s look at some important statistics, which alone, say more than a thousand abstract theories:
- For 64% of marketing leaders, data-driven creative strategies are vital to today’s business (invespcro.com).
- For two-thirds of marketers, decisions made based on data are far more effective than those made based on intuition (thinkwithgoogle.com).
- 76% of marketers base their creative decisions on data analytics processes (gartner.com).
Beware, however, of this last point, which instead shows how far there is still to go…and how many opportunities remain to be seized:
- According to research conducted by AppNexus, 97% of marketing campaigns still lack truly targeted creative for each audience segment (croud.com).
In short, the margins to attack are vast. Now, let’s ask ourselves a decisive question: when we talk about data-driven creativity, we always talk about “Big Data,” but what does this mean, concretely and operationally? Let’s see it below.
Not all data is equal
There is no data-driven creative strategy without prior data collection, that much is clear. But where is this data found? And how do they differ?
Let’s start with a general, technical definition of Big Data (source: Gartner):
“Big Data is high-volume, high-velocity and/or high-variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing that enable enhanced insight, decision making, and process automation.”
So far, so easy. Big Data are the digital traces that we all disseminate online and that companies collect to improve their processes. But now let’s go into detail, and isolate some recognized types:
- Behavioral Data: This is the data based on a user’s web browsing behaviors, the data based on cookies. There is a lot of information that can be extracted from this: from the websites visited, to single page views, from the time spent on a page, to the scroll modes; and then the clicks, the downloads made, the viewing of any videos…and much more.
- Contextual Data: Contextual data is “any relevant facts from the environment” (source: capterra.com). We’re talking about a huge field of data, ranging from news, to weather forecasts (fundamental for many productive sectors), to the traffic situation, up to market fluctuations.
- Demographic Data: The simplest and most intuitive data and the basic data needed to build a relationship with a customer. We’re talking about factors such as age, gender, marital status, household, and also income.
- Geographic Data: This is the increasingly common data related to geolocation. This information is absolutely central, especially for certain types of businesses (think of the restaurant industry, or all the players in the Travel & Tourism sector). This data tells companies where their customers are, even in real time, and it tells them about customers’ travel habits.
- Psychographic Data: In some ways, this is the information that may seem most elusive. But, not surprisingly, it is among the most valuable information for today’s businesses. We’re talking about personalities, beliefs, values, interests, lifestyles. Social networks are fundamental for collecting this type of data.
- First Party Data: The data that a company collects directly from its users and customers. There can be various sources, from social interactions, to website analytics systems, to email marketing campaigns, and so on. Above all, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems play a central role, but also DSP and DMP systems.
Pay attention to this last type of data: this is the real engine of personalization!
And it is precisely here we will close this post to tell you about a formidable data-driven creativity tool: personalized video.
Babelee and personalized video – the ultimate boost
The true goal of any data-driven process and data-driven creative strategy is to go beyond segments to target individuals. No longer creativity based on a one-size-fits-all approach, but on a one-to-one approach, which turns into an intimate and close dialog, capturing attention, increasing involvement and loyalty as a result.
Among all the marketing tools tailored to the individual, the one that stands out is personalized video, offered by specialized platforms like Babelee.
What are we talking about?
It’s a technology that automatically transforms data and insights into dynamic, interactive videos that adapt to user characteristics, even in real time, based on navigation choices.
The final output? A personalized video, which can be distributed simultaneously to vast audiences through a variety of distribution channels.
Some call it the “data telling” revolution. It is certainly an absolutely modern way of doing something very old: addressing individuals, treating them with care and respect, not as “masses of consumers,” not as “numbers,” but as unique individuals.
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