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Experts debate if too much data is killing creativity

Data is revolutionising the field of advertising and marketing but is creativity suffering in this race to know one’s consumers better? Industry veterans discuss at the XIV IAMAI Marketing Conclave

Data is revolutionising the field of advertising and marketing today and while many believe it has made targeting much more effective and relevant, there are others who believe people are getting caught up in the nitty gritties of data and creativity is suffering because of that.

Discussing the topic ‘Taking action with insights from your marketing data’ at the XIV IAMAI Marketing Conclave, a panel comprising industry experts laid emphasis on whether data was killing creativity.

Rubeena Singh

The panel was moderated by Rubeena Singh, CEO, iProspect and the panellists included Kashyap Vadapalli, CMO,; Neharika Talreja, Digital Lead and Strategy, Danone; Jaimit Doshi, EVP Marketing, Kotak Securities; Vivek Sharma, Chief Marketing Officer, Pidilite Industries and Himanshu Khanna, India Country Manager, Sitecore India Pvt Ltd.

Sharing his thoughts on what role does data play in creating marketing strategies and creatives, Sharma said, “With the abundance of data available, people are relying more and more on data to make their decisions for them. But you need to understand what to use the data for. Marketers need to lead the consumers and customers; they cannot be led by the customer. We are here to tell them about what they don’t know and create that next opportunity and that is why I think creativity cannot die. Data helps creativity.”

Agreeing with Sharma, Talreja also pointed out the importance of seeking insights from data and then working on them for effective communication.

“As marketers, we are always looking for a hook that will engage the consumers and data is the only way to get it. For me data and creativity are two different things. Data will help you build those creative campaigns which will help you hook the consumers. Without data you can have any output and it will really not connect with the consumer. Data opens a lot of opportunities,” said Talreja.

Debunking the image of the creative guy of the yore, Doshi pointed out how campaigns today have to be resulted-oriented and how data is the way to get there.

“Gone are days when some creative guys used to come in and say this is the creative, take it or leave it, whether it yielded the desired results or not. Now we can look at data and figure what works for which customer,” said Doshi.

Doshi also spoke about the need to identify trends and also predict changes in those trends.

“People are defined by trends and trends change over a period of time. While creating the algorithm and trying to segment people what we also do is we introduced mutants into the algorithm. The only way to figure out a change in a trend is to go on a limb and try to go against what your data tells you. Just because it is past behaviour that does not mean it is going to be future behaviour. Creative people have to start looking at data, if they don’t then it can be a big problem,” added Doshi.

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