Big Data Needs Big Ideas if Customers are to Win

As marketers, we’ve fallen in love with big data. We can now target and retarget consumers with more precision than ever before. Here’s the problem, though: Consumers don’t find value in interruptive messages, no matter how precisely they’ve been targeted.

Just last week, Omnicom rolled out Omni, a precision marketing and insights platform that is continuously measuring and optimizing, with attribution tied to client performance at every step of the customer journey. According to the holding company, it generates a people-based identity graph and an equally comprehensive media inventory graph that deliver a precise view of the quality, value and availability of inventory in the marketplace. As marketers, there’s no doubt we’re all getting smarter.

Just last year, both Google and Apple announced that their future versions of Chrome and Safari would block certain ads automatically, and adblocking alone is forecasted to cost publishers up to $35 billion by 2020.

However, consumers are getting smarter too. The better we get at targeting them, the better they get at embracing more sophisticated shields to block us.

Just last year, both Google and Apple announced that their future versions of Chrome and Safari would block certain ads automatically, and adblocking alone is forecasted to cost publishers up to $35 billion by 2020. At the end of Q1 2018, Spotify had 170 million monthly active users, of which 75 million were premium subscribers. That translates to more than 4 in 10 Spotify users actually paying for the service, up from fewer than 3 in 2015. Why pay $10 a month for a service that has a free option? The only difference is that the premium subscription is void of any advertising. The very fact that so many consumers are blocking and even paying to avoid our messages means that something has gone awry in our industry. This is a clear sign that consumers don’t like us. Or at the very least, they don’t find value in the interruptive messaging we’ve created for decades.

I don’t think it’s wrong to try to achieve a more precise or deeper view of consumers. I applaud the concept of becoming “people-based.” The data that we should look to gather must focus on the needs of our consumers and a deeper understanding of what they value.

We can do this by understanding them better throughout their entire journey, not just during their path to purchase. Doing so equips us to ask better questions. What can we make for them, and what might they do for us in return if we do? This is where creativity comes into the conversation. Creativity is how we ask and answer these questions.

Over the past five years, 90 of the top 100 brands have lost market share, and 62% have seen declining revenue.

Brands that couple this strategy with bold, innovative creative executions are often more effective in their communications efforts, according to the Link Between Creativity and Effectiveness from The Gunn Report and the IPA Databank.

Over the past five years, 90 of the top 100 brands have lost market share, and 62% have seen declining revenue. At the same time, smaller, emerging brands are growing their categories at a rate of 49%, according to a report from CircleUp. Big brands need to start thinking differently about what their consumers truly need, and how to deliver it to them in their marketing communications, if they want to remain relevant.

Traditionally, we’ve crafted stories and messages to compel consumers to see the perceived value in the brands we represented. However, the communications themselves rarely had any real value for the consumer. We’ve always tried to make an emotional connection with our consumers through the stories we tell. We need to continue to do this today, but we must create things (as opposed to messages) that are of real value to the consumer – that’s the only way our work will be valuable for brands. Our consumers are telling us what they need. By listening to them, we can focus on building content and experiences that leverage a brand’s distinctive story, value, history, culture or unique service. This will mean shifting our attention back from the outward-facing metrics, the quarterly budgets and the lead conversions, and more toward the creative work that cultivates deeply rooted customer loyalty and strengthens it over time. To truly drive long term-growth, we must be in the long-term game.

We must make things people want. Not stuff they work to avoid.

Jamie Venorsky

Creative Director at Marcus Thomas

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