How are the world’s most inspiring and forward-thinking companies using big data? They think beyond the numbers and look at their data as a story about their brand and their audience – a solid base on which to drive organisational decisions.
But to see this story and extract actionable insights from it, it is necessary to get creative with data and move away from purely numerical and statistical information.
A study by LinkedIn on the most sought-after skills in 2019 shows that creativity is considered the most needed soft skill, while analytical reasoning comes in third place in the technical skills category. This means that companies understand the equal importance of data and creativity for their performance.
But on a practical level – how can you utilise data creatively?
Here are a few ideas to inspire you.
Testing is one of the most effective ways in which data can affect creativity. For creative marketers, having real-time metrics available means experimenting with different contents and formats until you reach the desired outcome. The possibility to test can prompt the most creative solutions, as it allows to change course easily and thus take more risks.
It can happen though that previous experiments with data end up guiding future decisions. Marketers should not feel limited by what happened in the past, rather, should see data as an inspiring force that leads towards the new. In this sense, carefully selecting the right data, examining the opportunities provided by those metrics and using them as a driver for creative thinking is key to success.
When analysing data, it’s important to take on a broader view. For instance, when marketers tend to focus on the same target audience to deliver on a certain metric, they might miss on another audience segment relevant to fill the marketing funnel and foster growth. Relying too much on the same set of data might hinder your ROI and make you sound repetitive in the eyes of consumers. Don't stop at what’s determined by the data – embrace the bigger picture.
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Creativity is seen as a freeing, unstructured, visionary force. But don’t let your data be that way. For it to inspire the creative process, data should arrive in a simple, actionable and purposeful format that can feed creativity not with more confusion, but with a clear path to follow. Different metrics available online can clearly describe your audience’s needs and challenges – from there, marketers can draw actionable insights and apply creativity to unlock opportunities.
It wouldn’t be wise to rely entirely on data to trigger creativity. Data is to provide insights and explore new opportunities. Taking advantage of these opportunities is still up to human ingenuity. It's a starting point for humans to experiment, look into the future and be imaginative.