Customer expectations are changing faster than companies can adapt to meet their needs. Somewhere along the race to deliver personalized marketing at scale, business lost sight of what makes brand marketing so powerful — the soul of the experience.
The real opportunity to drive demand and create greater brand loyalty comes from bridging scientific thinking and non-linear creativity. When combined with data insights, creative intuition can be supplemented to provide meaningful, human connections.
The Urgency for Data-Inspired Creative
In today’s highly competitive marketplace, the speed at which companies convert customer insights into action is the critical differentiator. The velocity needed to deliver great digital experiences is accelerating.
Cycle time compression may be the most underestimated force in determining winners & losers in tech.
— Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) June 3, 2014
How it Works Now
Typically, market research and customer insights live inside the business with creative execution being supported by external agencies. Even worse is having an internal design team positioned close to the brand but far from the customer insights. This creates a broken feedback loop because the creatives don’t have full view.
Most creative teams follow a linear approach of spending six months to gather user research, several more to analyze the insights, then longer to execute. The response time needed to stay competitive requires closing the gap between the data inputs and the creative outputs.
Setting the Stage for Success
A strong strategic direction must be clearly articulated to show what the future looks like from the customer, competitive and internal points of view. Having an integrated approach where big data insights and creative teams work side-by-side requires culture change to transform into an experience-driven organization.
Creating a Culture of Experimentation
Brands should start by using ‘small’ data — which is dataset containing very specific attributes — to prototype well-defined experiments with time-boxed constraints to generate small wins. These achievements build the bond between the marketing and data science teams, empowering the brand to take more creative risks.
Outlining Clear Expectations
Priority projects can be accomplished with an integrated data/creative team guided by well-defined roles, responsibilities and key performance objectives. Ideas must be protected within a creative space where they are allowed to grow in a collaborative, nurturing environment. Putting guardrails into place will focus the creative direction towards the point where customer needs meet business objectives.
Changing the Approach
A leaner method of experience design is needed to allow for quick, iterative changes and optimized brand creative. With ongoing testing and analytics, these improvement opportunities become greater and greater.
Where’s all this going?
Change is uncomfortable and difficult, but a necessary part of growth. With the rapid pace of consumer tech adoption and customer expectations increasing, companies must adapt to create brand loyalty or relinquish market share to competitors that deliver inspired digital experiences.