Four ways you can use data to be more creative

Data and creativity don’t mix.

That’s how the thinking goes, at least.

After all, how can someone possibly summon the powers of creativity when staring into an abyss of numbers dotting an Excel spreadsheet?

But here’s the thing: data isn’t just for analysts and information technologists.

It can also play a key role in helping make you and your team more creative.

Here are four ways data can supercharge your creative efforts.

Learn more about your audience

A big part of creativity – at least when it comes to marketing campaigns – is knowing who you’re trying to reach.

A reliance on data can help teach you more about your audience.

What age your audience tends to be.

Which subjects on your website they are most interested in.

What sort of mobile device they use.

This can then help you when developing creative concepts to impact these audiences.

Inspiration for creating new content

Looking for creative inspiration?

Your data might be a source for your content strategy.

Consider Spotify.

In December 2018 they released Spotify Wrapped, a microsite that gave Spotify users a review of what they did in 2018.

It’s unclear how Spotify developed the idea. But it obviously involved looking at the data the organization had already gathered and then mining it for ideas on how you could use it to reach key audiences.

The next time you’re looking at a data set from your organization, ask yourself: What ideas are there in this data set that we could use to connect with our audience?

Justifying creative decisions

A big part of being creative is the freedom to develop new ideas.

If you always feel you have someone looking over your shoulder, you won’t be able to truly express your creativity.

This is where data can help.

Creatives who have data expertise can freely exercise their ability to develop ideas, secure in the knowledge that you can back it up when the time comes.

Say you’re working on a new concept for a branding campaign, but the idea you’re developing is a little controversial.

A reliance on data can give you the confidence you’ll need to be able to convince others that your creative ideas will resonate with them and their audience.

Measure your success

Creativity isn’t just about dreaming up ideas out of mid-air.

It’s also about how successfully your key ideas are in reaching your audiences.

By using data analytics tools, you can measure how successful the ideas you came up with were in reaching your intended audience.

Only got a few views on your blog post? It’s probably a sign you need to revise your creative process.

But if one of your pieces of content really takes off, then you can then use that when developing ideas in the future.

That’s where data plays a major role in your creative feedback loop.


Think data and creativity are polar opposites?

Think again.

As the above list shows, you can use data to be more creative.

Mark Brownlee is a digital marketing strategist in Ottawa, Canada.

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