A new Aussie study – based on the views of some of adland’s brightest – has concluded that data and technology is bringing agency creatives and marketers far closer together.
The study, titled Joining The Dots: The Future Of Creativity, was conducted by PwC and Google and included the opinions of 15 industry thought leaders including OMD’s Aimee Buchanan, CHE Proximity’s Chris Howatson, Clemenger BBDO’s Nick Garrett, McCann’s Nic Taylor and PwC’s Russel Howcroft.
The first step in the research was to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for the creative agency industry in Australia. The results are outlined in the graphic below:
The study found four distinct trends, including:
Smart marketer own the whole customer experience
The opportunity seized by smart creative agencies is to assist marketers design and deliver the proof. This means designing experiences at every touchpoint, not just prior to a sale, but also while the customer is with the brand and even after they’ve churned. Measures of success are not just sales and customer acquisition but levels of satisfaction that lead to retention. As a result Net Promoter Scores and lifetime customer value are being added to awareness, preference and selection on marketers’ dashboards.
Newer channels are widening creative boundaries
Often painted in a negative way as the ‘fragmentation of media’, the growth in avenues to express a brand’s personality can and should be recast more positively. Many marketers and agencies relish their access to a more diverse tool kit, seeing the chance to experiment in newer, less cluttered environments as a gift. Examples such as streamed audio – including podcasting, voice-activated smart speakers, internet-connected headphones (hearables) and music services – open new ways for brands to make a mark. Augmented reality enables brand-enhancing utility (see Choice’s CluckAR app, a free-range egg detector) and the mobile internet still represents a large gap between consumer time spent and marketing attention. This leaves room for innovative marketers and agencies to do everything from tapping into location-aware mobile searching to highly-engaging proximity marketing.
Ad avoidance puts relevance on creative
The signals are undeniable, consumers everywhere are avoiding advertising in larger numbers than ever before across video, text and audio. Approaches to ad avoidance include using technology, such as installing or using native ad blockers online and personal video recorders (PVRs) to fast forward through television advertising. A desire to avoid ads is also helping drive the uptake of ad-free subscription services e.g. subscription video on demand (SVOD) such as Netflix and Stan, streaming music such as Spotify, Google Play Music and Apple Music, games such as Sonic the Hedgehog and even many utility apps, such as Trip View.
Marketers and creatives have more insights available for building competitive advantage
Research shows that marketers who are more active in using consumer data reap higher financial returns. A recent US study by McKinsey demonstrated how CMOs who integrate data across all their marketing functions – from brand strategy and creative development to consumer experience, product and pricing – manage to grow their revenues at twice the rate of S & P 500 companies, on average ten percent per annum compared to the S & P 500 average of five percent.
Commenting on the research, Clemenger BBDO CEO Nick Garret said: “Some left brain marketers use digital as an excuse not to have a brand strategy but that’s not true. We’ve banned the word ‘digital’ – we use ‘interactive’ – it’s a behaviour, not a channel. And data leads to a better strategy, it allows us to put forward more compelling ideas because we’ve moved from ‘I think’ to ‘I know’….”
PwC’s Russel Howcroft added: “The best have always tailored their advertising to the medium they are using. The worst outdoor ad is the end frame of a television ad, the worst radio ad is the TV ad voiceover. Every medium has its own strengths. That principle holds in online.”
CHE Proximity CEO Chris Howatson said: “We can apply creativity more than ever before to solving business problems. Now we know – and can control – who sees what when, we can create value where it didn’t exist before and measure it. We can design our activity to serve ‘moments’ where customer behaviour exists, not a marketing calendar that suits the organisation.”
Added McCann CEO Nicole Taylor: “A brilliant idea is culturally relevant and has meaning. This relevance and meaning is found through the data. If we haven’t done that [research] process thoroughly, we’ll be off – the idea will not be as powerful as we think.”
OMD CEO Aimee Buchanan said: “What’s eciting is when marketers and brand get utility right. They go beyond a message and their marketing creates useful products and services.”