Now that we’ve established that, it seems impossible to say “metrics are killing creativity in advertising.” But that’s exactly what Patrick Sarkissian argues in this Ad Age post. He complains that “brand preference is built on emotional connections…and big, new ideas — not crunched numbers — [are what] remain in a person’s mind long after the initial experience.”
But I would ask this: How do you know what emotions are out there to be connected to without a little number crunching? How do you understand the context necessary for your creative to be found by the right target? With the right message?
In today’s world, I think the *only* way to succeed is with metrics — context — guiding creativity. There is an exponential sea of options available to consumers today, and they have control of the myriad mediums and content that influences their decisions. So there simply has to be a solid understanding of the universe you are trying to effect — some metrics — before creativity can be applied to a marketing problem. Quantitative and qualitative research are the necessary context-defining tools that make creative less like throwing a dart blindfolded, and more like pressing a push-pin carefully through the corner of a photo.
The most interesting thing (to me at least) is that once the right-brained writers and designers start working with metrics, the creative implementations gets better. They get such a finely-tuned view of who they are trying to connect with that they speak the right language more naturally, and the experiences strike a more responsive chord. It’s informed intuition.
But it goes further. Creative — and the consumer insight that fuels it — can no longer be relegated to research prior to a campaign and post-mortem analytics. Marketers should leverage real-time search, web analytics, and social media monitoring tools to facilitate continuous collection and analysis of data so that creative marketing programs can be rapidly adjusted.
Let’s get past the idea of advertising and marketing as purely a creative endeavor. Lets start thinking less about crafting big, rigid ideas. Let’s start thinking more about establishing a well-crafted marketing platform that allows for many, targeted creative expressions. It’s the only way brands — not campaigns — will remain relevant and succeed over any length of time. It’s a symbiotic relationship between analytics and constantly honed creative.