LONDON: Marketers are preparing themselves for the next step forward in the use of data, which is moving beyond the targeting of ads and into their creative development.

Warc's Toolkit 2016 suggests that both clients and agencies have spotted greater opportunities to fuse data and creativity and outlines four ways in which this can be productively achieved. (Non-subscribers can download a sample of this Toolkit chapter here.)

These include smarter insight into consumers, with more possibilities for behaviour-based segmentation and path-to-purchase analysis; tailored creative, particularly when this can be delivered at scale using programmatic techniques; campaigns or platforms that can be updated or augmented dynamically based on real-time information; and faster feedback, allowing optimisation of creative.

A particular piece of advice is to look beyond trend lines to the abnormalities within the data. Rather than playing in the same field as the completion, "use data instead to add provocative disruption to the creative process".

Similarly, it is important to avoid data becoming a straitjacket. Rather than expecting data to inspire creativity, the Toolkit suggests using creativity to handle the large amounts of unstructured data now available.

Marketers also need to be wary of using data "learnings" from previous campaigns in every project that follows; this can limit creative scope and stifle new ideas.

The flipside of the creative potential offered by the volume of data now available to most marketers is the more mundane area of organisational structure. Who is charged with responsibility for this data? Who turns the fire hose of information on and off, and who extracts the value from it? Does the head of marketing become the most important person in the office, or are they being sidelined?

Peta Williams and Rosie Fry, senior consultants with Deloitte Digital, highlighted a scarcity of "modern marketing" skillsets, which may now include coding, analytics and search engine optimisation, and suggested many businesses will, in the short-term at least, rely more heavily on marketing agencies.

Data sourced from Warc