One provides tactical insight, the other the emotional glue
Big data is the buzzword of the day. The techno savvy number crunchers are heralding big data as an “end all, be all” for tracking RIO and determining which marketing initiatives to fund. I’m in agreement that big data, when properly interpreted, can provide customer insight as to the purchasing habits and the media channel that culminated the sale. No argument – this is valid tactical information and should be considered when planning marketing initiatives.
Big data has limitations
Big data interpretation is also influenced by what the interpreter wants from it. We all know numbers can be twisted to justify decisions based on the interpreter’s bias and ultimate goal.
Big data also presents a one-sided view of the transaction process. Yes, it can isolate the channel that the purchase was transacted through, but it cannot measure the cumulative effect of brand value and preference across all the marketing channels that led to the conversion.
Big data lacks soul
Dissecting any purchasing process has to take into account the emotional decision to consider the brand in the first place. This is where big data comes up short.
Purchasing decisions start by pinging an emotional need. These emotions are what make us human and drive our wants, desires, and needs. Emotions are the glue that create an attachment to a brand and pique our curiosity to investigate features and benefits to justify the purchase.
Creativity needs big data and visa-versa
Big data is automated. It’s a logical path that turns creativity into a commodity. From automated ad purchasing programs to social media sentiment, tracking these algorithms can not detect sarcasm, joy, empathy or any of the other emotions we humans employ on a daily basis to communicate, cope, and justify our purchasing decisions.
There was once a time when creativity was celebrated. Good advertising built brands and created brand preference. It could sweep the nation with catch phrases and imprint the brand message in the minds of millions of potential customers.
Creativity needs big data to define the landscape in which the brand operates. Big data can help creative thinking by providing comparative analysis, insight into purchasing habits, and models of what not to do based on different scenarios. Ultimately, this tactical execution may be big data’s greatest contribution to the creative process.