Why Your Data Doesn’t Drive Better Creativity

Bob Wiesner | November 20, 2018

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Data matters. Creativity matters. Data plus creativity matters the most.

It’s now well established that the upside is terrific when marketers and their agencies can integrate data and creativity. McKinsey lays out a very strong case right here. Where creativity and data are integrated, growth is stronger. And talent is also stronger. Those organizations are better places to work.

But putting it together isn’t easy.

The data-creativity gap

I recently worked with an experiential marketing agency as it prepared a major pitch for a global client. There were lots of reasons why the incumbent (not my client – it was a challenger) was on thin ice. Client service had eroded. Costs were escalating. The events and shows were, creatively, mundane.

The RFP highlighted a troubling situation. The client had plenty of data about its brands, its events, and its customers. The incumbent agency had had access to this data, as well as tons of its own. Yet the data wasn’t being turned into more creative, more effective solutions.

As we dug deeper, it became apparent that there was nothing inherently inadequate about the data. And the incumbent agency had a track record of pretty good creativity. So it wasn’t a talent problem.

The problem was this: Communication between those with data responsibilities and those with creative responsibilities was badly flawed.

Communication is the secret sauce

Data becomes usable only when someone is able to communicate its meaning and implications to those who will use that data. This isn’t just throwing PowerPoint slides with charts, graphs, tables and numbers up on a monitor.

There’s a step during which someone, or a team, has to be able to make sense of the data. Draw conclusions. Know what it might mean.

That’s not enough.

Data can help creativity when those responsible for the data can can clearly, concisely, and persuasively communicate the meaning of that data to those responsible for creativity. The communicators need to know how the creatives think. How they process information. How they prefer to be communicated with.

That latter point is often the biggest hurdle. People who work in a world of data are often analytical, process driven, deductive thinkers and communicators. People who work in a world of creativity are often big picture, visionary, perhaps instinctive thinkers and communicators.

When the communication of data is done in the style of those who will use the data, magic can happen.

Photo by Charles Deluvio 🇵🇭🇨🇦 on Unsplash



Data managers and analysts often need to flex their communication styles to tightly integrate with creatives. WCG has several solutions that will bring these two groups closer. Stronger communication is more likely to energize creativity, leading to more integration. The cycle strengthens.

If this is an objective for your organization, consider our Collaboration Workshop. It helps teammates across functions find new ways to work more effectively with each other.

Winning in the Room is an excellent option if you want to upgrade communication skills and styles is the highest-stakes events.

And we have short-from, highly-targeted solutions that get right at communication styles flexibility.

Credit:monkeybusinessimages via Getty Images

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