In part one of my third csuitepodcast from Cannes Lions, I spoke with two previous guests of the show, Scott Allen, CMO of Microsoft UK and Vikki Chowney, Director of Content & Publishing Strategies, H+K Strategies about Data & Creativity.
Scott had been part of a panel session at the Festival with other CMOs from Pinterest, Dropbox and Hilton Hotels in a session entitled ‘Clash of the Titans – Where data clashes with creativity’. He explained that it was to see how CMOs can best use the wealth of data available to them, as they tend to be rich in data but poor on insight. Within his panel, Scott said they discussed whether or not companies are too data focused at the expense of creativity within your marketing plan, or visa versa, hiring for a modern marketing organisation if you are thinking about data and having more technical proficient people in your team, how we make data more meaningful and whether there is a need for both global and local content anymore as the data is so specific and so does the word ‘glocal’ go away now. It was therefore a number of those topics that I wanted to therefore expand on during our podcast interview.
Vikki said that one aspect of this area that excited her was audience mapping, explain that from a PR perspective, you are now able to get great and very granular audience insights, something that is no longer cost prohibitive, which if used appropriately, can inform creative ideas.
In terms of hiring, Scott had previously said on the show that I produced in association with MOI Global, that he would like to hire people who are part creative and part scientist, but he added that it’s not a skillset that is easy to find. However, he said he looks to employ people who are business savvy, i.e., those who look at business objectives first rather than marketing tactics first, but he also wants them to have an analytical and data interpreter’s mind set. He added that whilst there is a growing use of AI technology, without the human intervention and interpretation, it doesn’t become that meaningful for you. Finally, Scott feels that the ideal people need to be comfortable integrating into the creative side of the marketing team, so the data team and creative team can lead the campaign strategy and planning together.
This all aligned with the profile of people that Vikki said H+K Strategies are recruiting too, which has changed from people with classic traditional agency experience. She said that her agency are now hiring from publishers and digital agencies, plus people who build things, so that they can work with data creatively, giving them very specific roles built on those outputs and expertise, rather than broad/brushstroke agency titles. She said that the key to making it work is to ensure that everyone collaborates and doesn’t work in silos.
When it comes to data and creativity working together, Vikki gave an example from a recent Intel project where, using audience mapping, they looked at where people spent their time and what they were interested in. The project was in partnership with the RSC, during the showing of the Tempest at the Globe Theatre in London. She explained that by using data, they saw that the audience Intel were trying to reach about the project were high users of Snapchat, and so as a result, they came up with the idea to run a Snapchat filter – a nice simple way to use a platform already being used by the audience in a cool way.
— alya ☆ (@thortillachips) November 19, 2016
Finally, Scott explained that data can also help you decide what not to do. As an example, he said that instead of doing something you’ve always done because you thought it was successful, data allows you to be even more uber-targeted. He gave an example of instead of running a generic event on a particular date, you could use data to say, we need to do an event, in Manchester, on this date, with this audience and this profile, because we’ve done some propensity modelling, and these customers are likely to want to purchase from us so that you bring the right people to the venue at the right time, which will make the event more successful. Scott always tells his team to look 90% forward and 10% backwards and he said that this is a good example of how they do that.
The Cannes Lions episodes of the csuitepodcast were sponsored by Capstone Hill Search.
Thanks to ICCO for allowing us to carry out the interviews in their House of PR.
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