Balancing Moneyball And Creativity

The following is a guest post by Future Buzz community member Geoff Livingston.

The struggle to bring measurement discipline to marketing continues. This statistical Moneyball approach to marketing — all forms of communications — flies in the face of pop social media culture and its focus on conversations and creativity.

Just look at AMC’s “The Pitch,” and its over focus on creative and shiny object duels winning marketing campaigns.

Can another agency win The Pitch because it included “social media” in its offering?

There’s no excuse to avoid measurement. Corporate marketers can go beyond measuring long-term program goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) to use these tools as a diagnostic indicator.

Understanding how your community reacts to new initiatives can almost always be measured through your web site and monitoring tools. This is regardless of medium – print, broadcast or interactive.

Gini Dietrich and I wrote a book called Marketing in the Round that discusses the integration of marketing disciplines in the post digital era. A crucial part of that discussion includes three chapters on measurement.

No aspect of modern marketing should remain a mystery, including monitoring competitive initiatives, measuring how stakeholders act on the web site after getting an email versus a blog versus responding to an ad, or determining your product’s weaknesses through online feedback.

Finding, measuring and analyzing data becomes a crucial skill set for today’s marketer. Like the book and movie, Moneyball analysis should show strategists how to approach branding, campaigns and individual moments in time.

In my opinion, if someone masters measurement they can at worst become a very good marketer. This should encourage anyone who feels they can’t succeed because they lack design or copywriting savor faire. Sooner or later you need to write and/or create, but analytical skills have become the third core skill of marketing.

What About Creativity?

Will creativity no longer matter in the coming Moneyball era?

Far from it. Great creative still compels the human heart.

Whether it’s a direct marketing campaign or a Super Bowl ad, case study after case study in Marketing in the Round highlighted incredible creativity.

But now instead of Wild West Pitch like shoot-outs where creatives spar with imagination guns, we have informed approaches to developing campaigns.

Creative briefs take on a new dimensions with strategic intelligence. Copywriters, creatives, and strategists alike can see what paths are most likely to produce results. Entrepreneurs can inform their business and marketing decisions based on measured data.

That doesn’t mean a strategist must take the road most traveled. Many companies succeed by king just the opposite. Consider how Five Guys generated incredible word of mouth for its brand through employee training and incentives. Understanding the creative path and approach can still break open markets.

In fact, while analytical skills may make a marketing organization very good, a combination of strategic analysis and creativity skills delivers a lethal punch.

What do you think about balancing analytical and creativity skill sets in the modern marketing?

Geoff Livingston (geofflivingston.com) is an author and marketing strategist, and serves as VP, Strategic Partnerships for Razoo. A former journalist, Livingston continues to write, and most recently he co-authored “Marketing in the Round”, a book that shows you how to get more value from all your marketing and communications channels integrated together.