Creativity vs. data, right brain vs. left brain—what should guide your advertising strategy?
Years ago, advertising was completely creative. The characters in Mad Men never discussed algorithms, biometrics, or clickstream analytics. They discussed ideas, conveyed through words and graphics.
Today, companies have the ability to access an enormous amount of data, allowing them to choose the geographic location, age, education, and income of an audience. Ads can be targeted to small, specific groups most inclined to be interested in a specific product or service. Is there any need for creativity in a world where data collection rules? David Welch, the Vice President of Marketing for Adobe, a company whose customer base consists mainly of creative individuals, doesn’t think so. In 2014, he said, “Creative thrills, but data pays bills.”
Data enthusiasts have, for several years, promoted the idea that, with the right analytics, ads can reach potential customers with such precision that creativity in advertising is unnecessary. For a while, that may have been true; however, consumers have now reached a point of ad fatigue. Whether advertisers use pop-ups, overlays, auto-playing videos, or cross-platform ads that stalk users by showing up on phones, tablets, and computers—consumers are tired of them all.
If right-brain creativity is regarded as irrelevant and left-brain data is considered intrusive and irritating, what’s left? Happily, the most effective advertising cleverly combines the two through content marketing.
Imagine you own a business that sells kazoos. Traditional web advertising would place pop-up or sidebar ads to run on various, random sites based on tracking data collected from people who have visited your site or searched for kazoos on Google. Most people will ignore—or worse—be annoyed by your ads.
Using content marketing, you could create a website containing articles comparing different kazoo brands, kazoo product reviews, interviews with kazoo manufacturers or famous kazoo players, how-to videos or videos of kazoo factory tours, discussion forums, stories, and advice and tips. Customers would regard your site as a source for all things kazoo-related rather than as a kazoo store, although you would nonetheless have the opportunity to inconspicuously and unobtrusively sell kazoos to those visiting your site.
A company employing content marketing can attract the ideal audience as an all-inclusive destination, rather than trolling for an audience on sites across the web.
In the past, creativity and data were at opposite ends of the advertising spectrum and often in conflict. Today, they need to complement and enhance each other’s value, providing a balance that benefits both businesses and consumers.
Call McFadden/Gavender and we’ll show you how combining creativity and data into content marketing can work for your company.