FFWD2017 Re-cap: How to be a creative led company in a data led world

Posted by Kimberly Presnail on Feb 14, 2017 4:38:27 PM

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In a world quickly turning towards Artificial Intelligence (AI) we already put out on average 7TB data per human.   I imagine that’s only going to grow.

We can no longer operate on a hunch or rely solely on qualitative data to inform our strategy or creative output.  A marrying of the left and right brain is critical for any agency to survive today. But if you’ve ever watched a scientist and artist debate at a dinner party, you’ll agree this is easier said than done.

So, how can a creatively driven businesses thrive in a data led world? Tom Morton and Jess Greenwood from R/GA agency offered their perspective and recent experience at the opening lunch of FFWD2017 Advertising week. Here’s my re-cap:

Big data is terrifying but useless unless it’s broken down into manageable, actionable pieces

  • Behavioural data- use online behavioural data as an opportunity to find an interesting creative angle. A great example of this is the "TJ the rival" Nike campaign.
  • Personal data – use information like name, gender, and location to personalize the creative and experience. 
  • Member data – leverage loyalty and membership data to form connected experiences over time.

"Strategy without data is air guitar" Nick Law

  • Work differently than you do today. 
  • Data analytics & strategy should go hand in hand.  Just like art & copy. 
  • Give your analytics team a seat at the strategic table.  They should be just as much part of early planning stage as reporting most mortem.

Be obsessive about process

  • Consider the 2x4 process for data-driven strategy. No project kicks off without 4 people in the room for 2 hours with as many data points as possible plastered all over the wall.
  • Use search and social for campaign creative, and set up social listening run at start of each project (affinio is a good tool). 
  • Hire any connections planner you can find (typically lurking in media agencies). Connections planners are good at sending meaningful messages at right points in time - especially useful when working on membership strategies.
  • Develop a common understanding for data people and creative people so everyone is part of the new world. 


Kimberly Presnail

VP Marketing & Culture

Topics: Media & Marketing, Digital Media, Active on the road


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