"Tools are tools, but people run social. That's why we call it social media, not tool media," said Adam Naide, the social media lead for Cox Communications. Gather more than 600 social business professionals in one place (data) and tweetable sayings will inspire the crowd (creativity).
During the Data and Creativity: Defining Your Data-Driven Social Campaign session at The Social Shake-Up 2014, on Sept. 16, Naide's two fellow panelists shared quotable quotes and creative ways to connect with customers using their specific data, too. They include Tracy Bell, Enterprise Media Monitoring Executive, SVP at Bank of America; and David Schweidel, Associate Professor of Marketing at Goizueta Business School at Emory University. Laurent Francois, Co-Founder of RE-UP Agency and fashion blogger, moderated the session with style, of course, and his French accent to boot.
It seems like data usually stifles creativity, and overuse of the imaginative side doesn't get you anywhere with the C-suite. What our panelists shared, however, is that while data helps evaluate ROI, it has never been good at representing subjectivity, which is what creativity is-a subjective description of an idea that aims to connect with an audience. Achieving a yin-yang balance between data and creativity helps our social campaigns connect the ROI dots and our customers.
"A very powerful way social data can inform the creative process is, say, through a commercial," said Bell. "You'll schedule posts months out to correlate with the commercial when it hits the air, but listening at the keyboard and watching the data stream the first time the commercial actually does hit the air, tells you within 10 minutes if the commercial is working or not. If not, the creative team can adjust. If the image associated with the commercial doesn't resonate with the audience, but the commercial does, swap the image. Catch it before it starts circulating. The feedback is different when it's live."
Naide countered Bell's response with, "Don't take social feedback too seriously." He explained to use any feedback as an opportunity to connect but not necessarily to pull your whole social campaign. It's definitely a balancing act, and each business is unique-from its social strategy and resources to its customers and goals.
Bell added to use data to compare how it changed since the last time and how it compares to competitors' data. That is its most fundamental use, right: to help inform your social campaign? Retention is huge, too, said Naide, and social data drives products. It can be used to target customers and prospects with specific offers based on what information we have and don't have about them. So content is not only king, but it's bait as well. It's a very efficient direct marketing offer.
"Customers respond to content," said Schweidel. "I always get the response about marketing that it's one part art and one part science, but I'm more creative." He went on to say how we can use some data insight to show the creatives what's being observed in the field, and then it's up to the creatives to put their imagination to work, leveraging the data.
So how do we deal with the messy video-sharing culture, Francois wanted to know. "Because images are powerful and data will capture it, you must have a very robust process," Bell said. "But you can't take the data and interpret it."
Naide shared a Cox Communications example with Insightpool, which sponsored the Opening Night Welcome Party at the W's Whiskey Park. "Working with Insightpool, we have gathered a sack of customers who connect with us around boxing, ultimate fighting, and mixed martial arts. When there's a new pay-per-view fight, we connect and ask for predictions from the same followers. That's because they connected with us last time, so it doesn't seem creepy because it's contextual. It's not about selling. It's authentic. It's people willing to talk with their cable company."
The real-life examples for how data and creativity can and should co-exist together in our social campaigns could have gone on, thanks to our panelists. Though we ran out of time, we left with plenty of proof for how one cannot survive without the other.
Photo: Steffan Pedersen