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Data & Creativity: No Longer Distant Relatives
Marc Sanford, Chief Data Science Officer, Gtb
Data and creativity are typically not two terms that come into close contact with each other. However, with the rapidly changing marketplace around data, data technology, analytics applications, platforms, and data privacy and security, this has opened more room for creativity within the data space than ever before.And it also opens up the relationship of data to the creative generation process itself.
Data is fundamentally tied to brand expression (and creativity) at every level.To understand this connection, we need to understand what data is. Data is people. Data is behavior. Data is beliefs. Data is emotions. Data is culture.Data is brand. Data is communications. Data is interactions. Data is design. Data is language and images. Data is time. Data is health. Data is race, ethnicity, and demographics. But most importantly, data is a way of becoming more human. It is a way of meeting people and understanding places we’ve never had the opportunity to know.In that manner, it is a way of overcoming biases and misconceptions. Data is a way of opening the mind. It is a way of opening a conversation.
Because of this access and closeness of data and information, it is finding its way into new types of conversations. Even in the mythical (and sometimes highly regimented) creative processes, data and insights are used for inspiration. It is in this way that the use of data (regardless of platform of origin) creates a way of seeing opportunities, of what is real and what is not. Data shouldn’t be seen as a constraint, but rather a way of understanding and of investigation. At its core, data is a creative and brand expression compass. It is a way of supporting and testing ideas and approaches…it is way finding for strategies andstorytelling. It reframes the conversation from ‘I think’ to ‘I know’.
The richness and variety of data sources within most organizations are fertile grounds for highly creative thinking. And that thinking is often best done when you have a diversity of minds sitting around the table
Conducting work for an American automotive industry icon, we’ve started leveraging AI based neurological eye tracking within the creative process itself. We can start to see what triggers attention; we can start to know how formatting impacts the effectiveness of the creative and hypothesize about different creative elements based on neurological responses. We can then use complex and deep audience data to hypothesize about what to show to whom and when with the underlying knowledge of how creative will be perceived before it goes into market.
Of course, data does not always represent reality… nothing is fool proof.There is much discussion about bias in data and various analytics techniques. In fact, bias in data (or some analytical approaches) is very real and should be taken seriously. I recommend that every analytics professional (or any interested party) take the time to conduct their own research and ground themselves in this phenomenon within the data space.
Bringing the conversation back to MarTech platforms, I encourage marketing technology professionals tolook beyond what the platform provides. The richness and variety of data sources within most organizations are fertile grounds for highly creative thinking. And that thinking is often best done when you have a diversity of minds sitting around the table.