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Why Creatives Should Love Analytics

I spent the morning at Creative Next 2012, sponsored by the Ad Club of St. Louis.  It was a great panel discussion that opened on the topic of analytics and its influence on the creative process.  Unfortunately, analytics was not embraced with the amount of love that one would hope to see on February 14th.  The comments included:  there is too much data, the MBAs hired to analyze this data are not on the same page as the agency and the creative is being unfairly judged.  As someone who has worked on both the agency and client side of the fence, I think that I have an answer:  leverage the analysis to your advantage.

The client is usually being judged on short-term metrics.  But, the agency is being judged on their creative output and how it builds the brand over time.  So, the client spends their time talking about an immediate return on investment while the agency spends their time talking about long-term positioning. Here are a few ways to bridge this gap:

1. Targeting and planning. The analytics' team should identify the best target for a campaign based on the client's objectives.  Once this group is established, they should become the base for insight, enhancing the focus of the creative.  In addition, this group should be the main recipients of the creative so that your best work always ends up in the right hands.

2. Testing and tracking. Analytics can create an environment where creative can be fairly measured, as either a single tactic or an entire campaign.  In addition, a tracking plan can be introduced so that supplementary support tactics can be implemented quickly, if the campaign is slow to drive results, giving the creative some breathing room.

3. Post campaign analysis and next steps. Customer behavior is based on many variables that no one can completely measure, so this discussion should be focused on new target insights gleaned from the current campaign, which should be turned into new strategies and tactics rather than a simple pass/fail post-mortem.

Hopefully, this process provides the CFO with the confidence that their money is being spent wisely and provides the agency with the opportunity to produce great creative work that builds long-lasting relationships.