Established businesses and nimble disruptors alike must innovate to keep pace with the market trajectory, and this is certainly true within the world of data-driven marketing. It is for this reason that businesses need to take advantage of relevant data and use it to effectively inform every creative decision they make – underpinning every decision with experimentation will hold the key to remaining at the cutting edge. Ultimately, establishing creativity within data-driven marketing allows us to use insights to not only inform our approach but to explore innovative ideas that lead to success.

Embedding a culture of experimentation

Agility is something that almost every business, regardless of sector, either aspires to attain or believes that it possesses. The concept comes in many forms; be that the technical agility to scale and adapt digital interfaces to meet customer demand, or the organisational agility that allows for swift internal communications and decision making. But what do we really mean by this?

Businesses want to be seen as able to react to their customers’ needs and desires in real-time. To truly reach this goal, however, they not only need to understand how their customers feel, what they do, how they act – they need to take action against this insight. They need to experiment. The most successful businesses have the ability to take innovative and informed approaches to market quickly and effectively. For established players on the outside looking in, it can be easy to resign to the fact that this level of agility and creativity is unobtainable. The unpopular truth of the matter is that without an entire cultural alignment to experimentation, this will inevitably remain true. However, with vocal and engaged support from senior executives, businesses have the ability to garner the support and resources that powers organisational agility.

Marketers will be all too familiar with the feelings associated with the execution of a campaign that has been months of analysis and planning in the making. However, reviewing all aspects of the tactical delivery and creative execution to ensure the campaign falls in line with current customer metrics is only half the battle.

Marketers who operate within the realms of digital, data-driven experimentation have the ability to adjust tactics dependant on real-time customer response and data. Having a set in stone approach when it comes to data-driven marketing is ultimately counterproductive – businesses must be able to change things if they are not working. This is where the staff on the frontline play such an important role.

Creativity at the coalface

Many businesses pride themselves on ensuring staff who are on the shop floor or on the phones with customers have regular communication with senior management. This needs to change from rhetoric into being a reality. These workers are at the forefront of what makes the company tick and are an invaluable resource when it comes to understanding the customer. They understand when something is wrong, so they need to be able to fix it.

While customer-facing staff are occasionally given a mouthpiece, it is a rarity for their insight to turn into action. This is often not from a lack of intent from individuals involved, it is purely a symptom of a wider cultural issue. Without the proper infrastructure in place to allow staff to make suggestions on how a campaign could be altered or how, even on a very basic level, a web page needs to be changed, this insight can quickly turn into wasted potential. Ultimately, creativity stems organically from allowing everyone in an organisation to be heard.

As the data-pools available to marketers continue to grow in size and depth, it is vital that awareness of real life customer engagements are harnessed in a similar way. While many organisations can use the advanced capabilities of data-driven marketing, a truly creative approach stems from empowering all levels of an organisation to contribute to its delivery.

Ultimately, giving staff the opportunity to find and deliver solutions lies at the core of unlocking creativity across a company. The potential is immense.