Archives for posts with tag: big data


The whole advertising industry is embracing Big Data. It’s the new black of marketing. I’m a big fan of testing and optimization. We finally have readily available data in real-time – how can you not incorporate Big Data into your working practices and developing a culture around test and learn? The real success stories in Silicon Valley and on Madison Avenue are exactly doing that. And any advertising agency worth their salt has to follow that path.

There’s one thing optimization can’t do.

Coming up with a radical, game-changing solution to a problem. An idea that is entirely different from any which is currently in play. A disruptive innovation.

To develop this disruptive idea, you need a vision. Testing won’t ever come up with disruptive ideas. Focus groups definitely not. Surveys? Please.

When you need disruptive innovation, you can’t rely on science. You need to rely on art, embracing a bit of chaos. It’s not either science or art. Agile, organizational cultures needn’t preclude discordant ideas. In fact they should thrive on them. The companies that will flourish are those that encourage divergent, not convergent thinking around a powerful vision, and then test and learn as (and not before) they build and execute it.


It’s all about Big Data, right? Targeting, gathering information, using that data to deliver relevant messages, correct? Not so fast says Millward Brown, conducting an analysis of winning case studies from the IPA Effectiveness, Effies and Cannes Lions awards.

“This analysis serves as celebration of creativity. Advertising which is enjoyed, found involving, and stimulates the emotions in a way that other advertising doesn’t, should be encouraged and rewarded. But that doesn’t mean advertisers should pursue creativity at the expense of all else.

It has long been known that advertising needs to be underpinned by an appropriate strategy. This analysis adds another factor: branding. It is all very well for an ad to leave vibrant memories, but do these memoires link to your brand uniquely?

Branding has nothing to do with repeating the brand name and showing packs; it has everything to do with making the brand the centre of, and the reason for, the creative idea. The Marlboro Cowboy, the Hovis delivery boy freewheeling down a hill to the strains of Dvorak’s “New World Symphony”, the Andrex puppy and the Clio-driving Nicole and Papa, are all excellent examples of well-branded advertising.

There are many ways to brand an ad but, ultimately, it relies on creativity to integrate the brand, or an established branding cue, into the ad in an engaging way. This analysis suggests that advertising should also stimulate emotions; but there is no single emotion which works better.”

An important 180 by a company that brought you the “Awareness index”, a key metric that assumes that achieves its effect primarily by impacting memory – awareness and recall. Come to find out, emotion is pretty much everything.

As a professional that worked on the creative, media, accounting and planning side, I can assure you that creative work is not everything. You need to have a solid planning foundation, providing a platform to develop brilliant creative. And you need to have advanced communications and media planning to get your message heard, activate the audience and get the most of your owned platforms and earn media.

Problem is, the digital marketing industry has been in the grip of technologist, data nerds and spread sheets. They own digital marketing. That needs to change. Or we will continue to live in a world of tiny boxes being overlooked by customers. Guess works masqued as metrics.

Advertising was always about emotions. How come we forget about that?

Time to remember.


Ever brand and agency is suddenly a data-driven business. This monicker helps to establish the value of our collective investments in digital measurement, analysis, and optimization technology. This is pretty brilliant, except for one big problem:

A “data-driven” business will fail in the end.

This might only be semantics but instead of talking about “data-driven” we should be talking about the need for a heightened awareness of the numerous sources of data and information we have available in the digital world, enough to take advantage of these sources to create insights and make recommendations. Indeed, you’re a fool not to consider better use of available data in the decision-making process as an amazing improvement.

I’m just very skeptical that a company can be data-driven. Data, when improperly used, can lead not only to poor decisions but to poor decisions made with high confidence that, in turn, could lead to actions that could be erroneous and expensive.

We need to develop “data-informed” businesses.

We need to collectively create increasingly data-informed and data-aware businesses and business people who integrate the wide knowledge we can generate about the digital customer into the traditional decisioning process. The end goal is a more agile, responsive, and intelligent business that is better able to compete in a rapidly changing business environment.

The best organizations understand the relationship between people, process, and technology – and are able to leverage that knowledge to inform their overarching business strategy – a very healthy blend of data and business knowledge, each applied judiciously based on the challenge at hand. Smart business leaders leverage insights made by a trust analytics group/organization – not bots pulling levers based on KPIs.

Success with analytics and optimization requires a balance, and business leaders who will be successful in the future will need to develop a top-down strategy to govern how their business will leverage both digitally-generated insights and the collective insights of their organization.

Let’s not forget: We are both rational and emotional. We are humans, not some robots – we will always carry emotion and rational thoughts in us. All the time.

A ‘data-informed’ business understands the Yin and Yang of the human experience, showing respect for the hard work, commitment, and passion all stakeholders have as part of the enterprise. It encourages actively working with the organization to move the company in the right direction.