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09/16/2018

The New Meaning of Data and Why It’s Critical to Your Business

From the desk of: Mimi Lettunich

Data. Something so critical and yet so often it’s overlooked or misused. Sometimes the difficulty lies not in analysis, in not knowing what to ask. Everyone captures data on some level, but are brands using it correctly? Are you using data to inform your creative and customer engagement strategies?

If the answer is no, something has to change. And fast.

When data drives your strategy—and insights forge your creative into existence—truly impactful brand experiences happen. And great experiences spark roaring loyalty, which in turn yields advocacy, affinity and revenue.

Where data fits into the process is the missing component of many marketing- and design-centric conversations. The irony is, if brands operated other areas of their business without looking at data first, they’d be out of business.

Mind the Gaps

Data gets omitted from marketing, creative and design decisions for all sorts of reasons. One is the old-school notion that data is something that’s collected after a campaign has been run. This is the old “pilot, test, iterate, relaunch, test, iterate, relaunch, etc.” model, with its tunnel vision interpretation of data as results, not inputs. This obscures the importance of data at the beginning of a creative process, and its ability to make a real difference in the end.

Research—the hallmark of a data-centric approach—is often missing from the creative process altogether. In our world, brands are used to picking one idea with a few design options, and then implementing it, saving data for the end, if at all.

The logical approach is to let data drive the strategy—not back into one.

Even when the instinct to gather data ahead of time is there, getting data right isn’t easy. Teams may not have access to the insights they need, or limit their exploration to the results from the campaign immediately preceding. The knowledge you need is sometimes outside of your own field – behavioral research, consumer preferences, or even metrics from a different industry entirely – and having a way to access that data reliably is key to success.

When data drives your strategy, truly impactful brand experiences happen.

The New Meaning of Data and Why It’s Critical to Your Business image

Too Critical to be Overlooked

Data-led creative means massive payoffs.  That’s why it’s the cornerstone of our approach.

Creative campaigns that begin with research and provable evidence are just more successful than their trial-and-error counterparts. And a positive, proactive relationship with data has benefits beyond any individual campaign: it allows you to better understand your customers, build stronger emotional connections and nurture brand loyalty. From a financial perspective, investing in a data-first approach doesn’t just save money in the longrun by avoiding the “iteration cycle.” It also prevents the incalculable loss caused by having to earn back disappointed customers.

Shifting Your Perception

Here’s some good news: though it may seem impossible to rearrange your creative workflow, it’s really not.  All you need is well within your grasp.

The most important step is a conceptual one: embracing a more complete definition of data and the value it has in solving big picture business challenges. From there, it comes down to your ability to listen to the stories data tell, and the flexibility to alter your approach when presented with evidence, not opinion.

More good news?  There are partners that can help your company adopt data-driven customer engagement and loyalty strategies, and execute strong, data-driven creative projects that generate real results. Twenty Four 7 is one of those partners—let us help you reimagine what’s possible. Get in touch: inquire@twentyfour7.com.