Agency Open Haus #2: Technology, Data, and Better Creative

In an essay penned by Bill Gates in 1996, we first heard that in an interactive environment such as the internet content is king. We’ve also heard that we need to tell a story through our creative and messaging, and that above all creative work in digital needs to be engaging, as we work to capture the moments when our customer is listening. And it’s not only about design, or user design, but rather it’s all about the customer experience, CX or UX.

But where exactly does tech driven data fit into how we do creative work? Where is the intersection between technology, data, and creativity? And how can we use data insights to inform better creative? This was the ambitious topic area explored at Agency Open Haus #2, an initiative launched by creative tech agency Conn3cted.

In search engine marketing, the answer to these questions is simple. Data informs all our creative work, or at least it should. Here, ad copy is determined by rounds of testing until a top performing copy can be identified through the collection and analysis of data; looking at metrics such as click through rate and conversion rate to ascertain the value of the copy we are running against specific keywords. However, before we can test, there is still the messaging behind the product, service, or brand we are marketing, and it is this that in fact should also be informed by data driven insights.

The first presentation for the evening was by Josh Graham from Canva, an easy to use platform for design work. The focus was on enabling good digital design and making this available to everyone. You don’t have to be an amazing designer; instead the platform empowers you to create good creative through in-platform training and by removing the complexity of digital creation with simple graphic design software. Tools such as these democratize the design space, making good design accessible to businesses both large and small. In the case of Canva, technology has in fact enabled better creative, and has made this more widely possible.

Glenn Murray and Sean Patterson followed, presenting on a Toyota case study of how the role of “creative technologist” was essential to the process of how they created an iconic customer experience journey. In this case, there was a deep integration of technology and the creative process, shaping the final product.

But what about data? Or “big” data? The panel discussion that followed focused on this aspect in more detail. The overall consensus in the room was near unanimous – we need to be better at embracing the data available to us, and gain the confidence to employ data driven insights for marketing and messaging. While this has long been best practice in the field of digital marketing, generally attracting the more tech and data savvy, it is really about combining the tech and data savvy with the creative and doing so well to get the best outcome.

This has also been reinforced by Reef content copy writer, Marina Pliatsikas,  in How To Let The Numbers Influence The Words, where she emphasises that while…

…it is important to use some common sense and creativity, and write about whatever strikes your fancy at that particular moment in time (as long as it’s relevant to your industry of course), it’s equally important to look at the data side of things to see how your site is performing, where it could be doing better, and how content can help plug any leaky holes in your conversion funnel. It’s actually kind of exciting.

Overall the evening emphasised that customers are visual learners, visual communicators, and that this should influence how we advertise. We need to harness what we can from data that is so readily available to us, that is if we know how to use it, and if we employ the right technology to capture it. In essence, while creativity should not be limited or restricted by metrics, data and technology can guide it in the right direction – or enable its creation.

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