It’s Not All About the Data

Intuition still key to crafting campaigns

Is data crunching overwhelming intuition in the making of ads these days?

At times, yes, according to Dentsu’s John Partilla, one of six agency leaders who tackled the issue during an Advertising Week panel discussion Tuesday. Partilla relayed the story of a film studio whose research predicted that a feature would clean up at the box office. Instead, it flopped. Why? Because the marketing campaign lack creativity and was “just lousy,” said Partilla, who is chief operating officer of Dentsu Network West.

In short, data alone won’t give rise to a sound marketing strategy.

“We have so much data that’s real time,” said McCann Worldgroup CEO Nick Brien, another panelist. “If we’re smart, we translate that into knowledge, truth, and strategy.”

In that context, data informs marketing strategies, as it should. Instinct and intuition, however, remain crucial to the development of effective campaigns—even in an era where data is king. As MPG CEO Maria Luisa Francoli put it, “Creativity continues to be the most important single factor that affects the entire process.”

And while data can be your friend, it can “sometimes lead you in the wrong direction,” noted GlobalHue CEO Don Coleman. Returning to Partilla’s anecdote, Coleman added, “In terms of your movie, who was your real target? How was it defined?”

In the end, it’s all about the consumer, right?