Jan 17, 2013

Data: The New Creative

What do you think of when you think CES? Gadgets, TVs, Cameras? Most of us do, but the panel assembled for the session on Contextual Media & Advertising was here to discuss the “now what?” of technology.

We have all of these screens, devices, and channels but how do we serve up what the audience wants? It became clear that these devices are giving communicators two things: a place to talk to us and a place to learn about us. Where we are, what we are doing, what price point is the threshold for an impulse purchase, what are we doing after we are served relevant content?

Harnessing that data to accurately communicate and serve up relevant and timely content is the holy grail. According to this panel, we are getting there, but haven’t cracked that code. We are no longer looking at the data as “good to know” historical information, but we are looking at that data to assist in more accurately guessing what comes next.

On a panel that was mostly media or media adjacent companies, there was a lone soldier of the “traditional” in Ellis Burgoyne, Chief Information Officer and Executive Vice President of the United States Postal Service.

It is with Burgoyne that I think the disruptive use of data in a creative way was most exemplified. He spoke of a world where the USPS could tell you what is in your mail box, a world where campaigns are hyper targeted to specific users at specific times in both digital and physical mediums. He also spoke about the ability to have print come to life.

Turns out that the USPS has partnered with Aurasma to create an augmented reality experience for direct mail, a true convergence of traditional and digital. (The video at the top of this post demonstrates some of the other augmented reality experiences Aurasma has developed.)

Burgoyne eloquently painted a picture of a person being alerted to a timely piece of mail that can be scanned to provide additional information revealing a time sensitive offer. Thus engaging with the consumer based on reliable data. The data telling when this person likes to shop, what type of device they use, what action was generated and ultimately how much that person spent. The consumer has a personalized experience and the marketer has a gold mine of information to help them accurately market to that individual.

A little creepy? Maybe, but how many of us get frustrated when we get served up irrelevant ads on our social sites? The only way to get accurate ads is to mine the data that we give when we are online and in store.

The conversation turned toward the success of data mining done by President Obama’s campaign. Joan Hogan Gillman, EVP, Time Warner Cable, Inc. and President, Time Warner Cable Media talked about the level of flexibility and creative pre-planning the campaign did so that they could adjust and adapt as the data streamed in.

Laura Caraccioli, EVP of Advertising at Electus, proposed why not share your data and insights with your creative team? Let them figure out how to design the campaign to adapt to how you want it to ebb and flow.

After sitting in that session it was apparent to me that if we aren’t contextualizing our data to the creative teams we are missing a huge opportunity.

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