Are you right-brained or left-brained? Do you base your marketing on intuition or numbers? Creativity or data? Most marketers would say the former; big data can be a little scary when not relegated to the data scientists. However, the truth of the matter is there are a variety of ways even the most right-brained email marketers can benefit from big data; as more and more data becomes available to marketers, increasingly, creativity and data are going hand-in-hand.
Fill in the Gaps
Big data starts with email intelligence. If you’re going to use data to unleash your creativity, it’s critical you start with as much data as possible. By filling in important gaps in your database, such as postal address (particularly zip code) and social media profiles, you can begin to create more accurate customer personas. And of course, the more vivid the details you fill in, the more vivid the messaging you can create.
Justify Creative Risks
On Salon, Andrew Leonard describes how Netflix smartly used big data to expand into the risky world of original television programming. In 2012, the company had targeted a possible remake of a popular 1990 BBC miniseries titled House of Cards. For more than a year, they collected massive amounts of user data about the types of people who viewed that program, including other movies, actors and directors they also watched. According to the data they collected, executives were so confident a remake of the series with actor Kevin Spacey and director David Fincher would be successful, they ponied up $100 million for two 13-episode seasons.
Take Creative Ideas Further
Netflix didn’t stop there. Leveraging user data, the company was able to save millions on marketing. The company claims 75% of its 29 million subscribers are influenced by Netflix recommendations. Through complex algorithms, Netflix was able to determine which subscribers might be most interested in Kevin Spacey or political dramas, allowing them to send targeted messages to precisely the right people at the right time, for maximum impact. The results of all this creative risk-taking and strategic implementation were three Emmy awards, an eight-fold spike in viewers for the season two debut and a green light for the production of season three.
Don’t Micromanage the Details
At the same time, argues POSSIBLE CEO Shane Atchison, you can’t micromanage creativity. While acknowledging the success of Netflix and House of Cards, he also points to a catastrophic failure: the new logo Yahoo launched in 2013 to widespread derision. During the planning stages, management surveyed employees about their logo likes and dislikes. One of the questions asked employees if they like serif typefaces (which the old logo used) or sans-serif typefaces. Employees “voted” for san-serif…which ultimately removed almost half of the typographic world out of play. “Creative people need more freedom than this,” Atchison explains.
You don’t have to have a do-or-die mentality, though. Big data can be the perfect partner for creativity and may in fact be the new competitive advantage in our modern economy. Just make sure to monitor your data and see where it takes you.
Want to see some big data ABOUT big data? In the infographic below, Teradata shows how marketers are moving beyond the data myths and unleashing their inner creativities!
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