Why creatives and data scientists should walk hand in hand
It isn’t news that marketers across the spectrum are dealing with overwhelming amounts of data. A KPMG study recently revealed that 97% of businesses use data and analytics in some area of their organisation, and research firm International Data Corporation has predicted worldwide revenues for business analytics will reach over £147 billion by 2019. We also know it impacts the bottom line, with the implementation of data into marketing now proven to increase ROI by up to 20%.
However, in ad land, renowned advertising executive Sir John Hegarty states “data has never created wealth”. Instead, he believes creativity holds the crown as the provider of wealth, because it “imagines something”. It’s a burning debate across the marketing industry and was a key topic at both Cannes Lions & Advertising Week Europe last year: what drives the success of a campaign – creativity or insights?
But does there have to be an either/or? Insights-driven creativity provides the foundations from which the greatest ideas are built. Yet data management doesn’t always get the glory. While many view the ownership of this role as siloed, this could, and should, not be further from the truth.
Data responsibility is, despite its prominence across industries, often still falling between the cracks with a lack of ownership, as well as denial of it being a useful skill across all industries. Granted, this isn’t always the case, with the tech industry even going as far as creating a new role, the ‘chief data officer’, to lead this. However, interestingly, this role is often defined not as a technology one, but instead that of business consultation – and according to Gartner, a position that will be filled at 90% of large companies within the next three years.
Something we often see across the marketing industry is a wall between the data team (which provide the insight) and the marketers (those who conjure up creativity). While no-one disputes that data and creativity are both core ingredients for marketing success, data science and marketing still aren’t working hand in hand.
Data management and understanding shouldn’t be the responsibility of a distinct individual team; a combination of skills is required. Data scientists and marketers need to work together to define strategies and concepts that draw on their combined know-how. It can be creatively damaging for these teams to be so disparate, when the by-product of this collaboration can create an extremely powerful story.
We need to evolve from placing ownership in silos to moving to a collaborative approach to data sharing and interpretation across the marketing network, to compliment creativity and drive more effective outcomes. Today, with most organisations effectively being technology businesses – and thus data-driven businesses – integrated skillsets are key for unlocking the power of data to connect people and create a truly powerful piece of insight or creative.
Ravleen Beeston is UK head of sales for Bing Ads, Microsoft