What used to be an almost Hatfield and McCoy-type of relationship has recently become more like All in the Family, bumps in the road included. Data and creative have finally tied the proverbial marketing knot. The courtship has been steadily evolving for the last year or two, but recent events have brought data squarely to the forefront of our consciousness. While the union of data and creativity is most certainly a positive for the industry, steps must be taken to ensure that we are moving forward in a way that benefits both businesses and consumers.
Data provides marketers with the tools to get their creativity and carefully considered ideas in front of the right audiences. In an increasingly mobile-first world, with emerging markets leading the charge, data analytics and insights are becoming progressively more important for targeted marketing on mobile. The ecommerce booms in both India and Latin America have only increased the significance of data for companies looking to capitalize on these burgeoning markets. The U.S. is also joining the race when it comes to mobile ecommerce, where it is anticipated that 27 percent of all retail ecommerce will be conducted on mobile devices by the end of this year.
Data-driven analytics doesn’t come without its roadblocks and pitfalls, however. Although the search for balance between data-supported advertising and consumer privacy has been ongoing since the first desktop ad was served, once the Cambridge Analytica scandal came to light and along with the subsequent congressional hearing, processes are being examined with a fine-tooth comb more than ever before.
With the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) set to go into effect on May 25, the modern advertising industry—particularly digital advertising—will need to grapple with a new reality. Data can still be collected in a secure and mutually beneficial way, but transparency and process will need to be paramount. The first (and most timely) step toward full transparency and responsible data-handling is achieving GDPR compliance and certification through organizations like iapp and ePrivacy. This is a great way to show clients and consumers that you are taking that extra step to make sure their data is being used and sourced in an ethical manner.
Building the right data and analytics team is another important step to integrating big data into your creative strategies, whether this be an in-house hire or sourced to an outside data and analytics firm. The rise of the CIO inside creative agencies will only lead to more informed and directed campaigns going forward, and for those looking to enlist outside help, there are a number of firms that specialize in both mobile and more traditional data insights.
While the amalgamation of data and creativity was long overdue, like any relationship, there will be peaks and valleys. The right combination of the two will give marketers every tool they need to make the best possible inroads into emerging markets and continue to thrive on the home front. There will also be questions about the collection of this data, however, and agencies need to ensure that they are compliant and up-to-date with regulations and industry standards. Being proactive is always a benefit to both you and your consumer. As a sign of good faith, it will be beneficial for those collecting and using data to adopt the regulations and guidelines outlined in the GDPR. Just like data and creativity, the relationship between you and your consumer should always be mutually beneficial, or it won’t last very long.