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Data is NOT the New Creative. Data-Driven Creative is the New Creative


DATA-DRIVEN CMO is an ongoing series on the Brooks Bell Blog that focuses on topics for the modern day data-driven CMO.

A lot has been written in the last year around the idea that “Data is the new creative.” The theory is that your data is the secret sauce (not the creative) to getting more testing wins in your optimization program.

Driving in a tunnel of data

My gut reaction to this statement is one of defensiveness. Keep in mind I’m a former designer, art director, and creative director…of course the creative is still the game-changing component to a winning recipe! If not for the creative, every page will have 10 tons of marketing slop in a 5-pound bag. We help non-creative marketers prioritize messages! We ensure the brand is adhered to, messages are received, and conversions happen!

See how quickly I can flip back to that mindset? Sound familiar? It may be easy to imagine your creative team with that same sense of defensiveness.

A shift is happening in marketing. That’s no question. The problem is that we spend too much time jumping to the next big thing when we should spend more time seeing how it applies to our business. In the last few years, the idea of using data in marketing has crawled out of the trunk and jumped into the driver seat.

This is great for so many reasons. Using data to drive decisions is the right thing to do! And all of the analysts out there who worried that their recommendations have fallen on deaf ears for years are now rejoicing at their newfound impact on the business.

Analysts know where they are driving to, and the best way to get there. But just because the analyst can drive the car doesn’t mean they can talk their way out of a speeding ticket.

Creatives have been bred and trained to persuasively sell their ideas through compelling copy and their ability to tell stories. But until now, they have been able to succeed on hunches and with best practices.

Your organization needs the creatives and the analysts to work together. Your organization needs someone that can drive fast, while knowing the best way to get there. Data is not the new creative. Data-driven creative is the new creative.