The most prevailing controversy in the digital media space is the issue surrounding privacy. Consumers are worried about their privacy and what, exactly, is being tracked. Users generally have no idea which companies are processing their data. This can sometimes lead to unknown companies sending communications that may feel invasive or distrustful. There’s a level of “creepiness” that comes with knowing you’re being watched or followed. No one feels comfortable with companies having their personal information on file, like knowing where they are in the world while they are surfing online. Or tracking their movements from website to website. With how often identities are stolen and online accounts are hacked, it’s a legitimate fear. 

That being said, marketing is about getting consumers the relevant information they want, when they want it, and providing them ample opportunity to take action, whether it be buying a product or service, or engaging with a brand. Marketers legitimately use this data to profile and target the right audience. 

Many platforms, like Google, allow us to use their algorithms to test creative programmatically. A series of headlines and ad copy can be rotated and optimized based on consumer engagement – metrics will tell us what’s working and those tongue and cheeky headlines can go out the window, right? 

Wrong. 

Marketers need to use the data in the right way and pull the necessary insights out of that data to make creative decisions. 

Relying on raw data alone can sometimes limit the creatives’ freedom to take risks and try out-of-the-box ideas. If everything was based strictly on data, all marketing within a particular industry would start to feel the same and could lose its intended effect if there’s nothing to differentiate one organization from another. There’s also the potential to lose the emotional bond that brands work hard to develop with their customers. These personalized experiences that embody the company’s brand values are vital. 

Digital marketers want to know certain demographic information to tailor creative messaging for a specific audience. Research has shown that personalized messaging resonates better with customers and pushes them down the sales funnel. To do this, little bits of data are gathered by placing pixels on websites that essentially follow the consumer whenever they are on the Internet (the clicks on a page, pages viewed, device IDs, passwords and credit card information, etc.). This makes it so consumers don’t have to log in over and over again on the same website. Or refill their shopping cart if they don’t check out immediately. Marketers use this information (Internet history) so they can personalize their messaging and speak directly to these consumers. Marketers know what websites you’ve recently visited and can tailor messaging based on their understanding of your preferences. 

Why It’s Important To Blend The Two

The exponential growth of digital marketing has caused the need for peoples’ desires to be addressed immediately. Creative content now has to travel at the same speed as the sales process. People want immediate gratification these days and have been accustomed to getting what they want, when they want, with the push of a button or a simple keystroke. 

To get in front of these customers, marketers have to use some behavioral data to engage with them directly based on where they are in the sales funnel – where they are in the decision-making process. Then, based on more data, messaging needs to be developed and be relevant to match up with consumers who are making these decisions right then and there. Providing context is also important and speaks to the user based on their unique needs and desires. Data also helps creatives make better decisions by providing more information and context about who they are creating for. It’s here that we’re trying to understand their emotional response to a particular ad or message, how to get their attention, and ultimately, their feedback. 

Truly understanding the persona reduces the likelihood of “flying blind” and missing the mark with their audience. The last thing a marketer wants to do is appear tone-deaf and irrelevant. Data can help creative in two ways: 1) better targeting: understanding where your audience is and how they consume media, and 2) better creative: getting feedback from actual customers, seeing what resonates, and pivoting when necessary. 

With the new restrictions on third-party cookies, we are now in an ecosystem where it is even more important to work together to find new ways to leverage information and continue to drive relevant, creative messaging to audiences across a growing number of devices, platforms, and formats. As more regulations emerge, marketing as a whole will be looking at alternative solutions for collaboration and creativity to ensure customers are getting what they want when they want it. Remember, creative is subjective in nature and it’s still our job as marketers to bring ideas to life, tell stories and win over the hearts of consumers. 

A creative strategy infused with big data provides marketers with the necessary insights in developing better engagement to your business or service. It’s all about making an important connection with your customer while increasing your bottom line.

Originally published by the Rochester Business Journal


Lesley Ruple

Account Team Leader

With over 16 years of experience, Lesley brings a focused perspective on account management, branding, and integrated marketing. She is a dedicated account leader, combining intuitiveness with a determination for success. Lesley is a passionate and enthusiastic marketer, ensuring the highest level of service is provided to each Mason Digital client and account.