A recent survey of senior marketing executives found that when it comes to providing value to their teams, the best marketers use a blend of analytic and creative skills. A full 70% of respondents indicated that analysis and creativity are of equal importance.
Chart courtesy Spencer Stuart
Why You Need Both Data and Creativity
Creativity is crucial for creating exciting visuals, writing compelling story lines and constantly coming up with new ideas for compelling messages that fit your brand. The best creative marketers can keep the big picture strategy in mind while also aiming to evoke an emotional response among the right prospects. Digital marketing is not about making big splashes with one-off campaigns – it’s about maintaining a consistent flow of engagement that holistically supports brand positioning.
But it’s in combining creativity with analysis that you can make a real difference. Even if creativity is your strong point and you get nervous around numbers, good data provides insights that can help spark your ideas. Data can help with your brainstorming efforts, refining ideas and providing reasons why your bosses should approve your ideas.
And if you’re putting together a proper marketing strategy document, you’re going to need to include some performance metrics as baselines and goals according to which your success will be measured. Yes, metrics count as data. As Mark McGuiness of Copyblogger asserts, “marketing is neither an art nor a science. It’s both.”
Presented here are three ways to use data as a springboard for improving your marketing creativity.
1. Learn More About Your Audience’s Interests
The best marketing resonates with audience members emotionally because it taps into their values. Using a web traffic intelligence platform, you can access lists of websites that your site’s audience commonly visits. If you use SimilarWeb for this, you can even refine these results according to website category. And with SimilarWeb’s Custom Data Solutions, you can periodically pull new results into a spreadsheet, revealing the top “affinity” sites for whatever number of domains you want.
When you know more about what interests your audience beyond your own industry, it’s far easier to create content that stand out from the crowd. For example, if your website is about cars, and your audience is interested in baseball as well, then you might drive a lot of engagement with an article along the lines of “5 Things I learned About Cars from Watching Baseball.” Your readers will be curious to see how you have connected these two seemingly unrelated topics and will be more likely to click on a link to content that combines these two passions.
2. Get Inspired by Watching the Right Social Profiles
Learn more about what specific social profiles to track for idea inspiration by keeping tabs on lists of the channels and user accounts driving the most traffic to your competitors. Keep an eye on which creative ideas resonate with audiences and which don’t, so you can come up with the best ideas for how to engage your own audience on social media.
Knowing whom to track can be tough, but once again, this is where data comes in to play. Find out where that car-loving audience is hanging out on social media, what types of content they click through to most and what types of posts resonate enough that readers click on the follow, like and share buttons.
3. Uncover Your Industry’s Top Converting Keywords
While it’s important to know what searches are bringing users to your pages, even bigger insights can be gained by learning what searches are driving the most traffic to all sites in your category. When you know what buzz terms are the most effective for encouraging clickthroughs from search results, you can prepare content that addresses these topics.
Continuing with our example of a website about cars, if you are writing awesome content about safety but the data shows that the Google searches referring the most visits to automotive sites relate to sound systems, then you are missing out on a lot of potential traffic. When updating your content strategy, find out how your niche’s audience uses Google, so you can provide them with the information they are looking for. Using SimilarWeb’s Custom Data Solutions, accessing this information is as simple as refreshing a Google Doc.
Inform and Improve Your Content Strategy
Creativity may be a natural ability, but tracking data is a skill you may need to teach yourself. SimilarWeb PRO allows even the most right-brained marketing professionals to benefit from left-brain thinking, by setting out all the data in easy-to-understand graphs, charts and lists. And the Custom Data Solutions available through the SimilarWeb API allow for narrowing down and sorting of just the data you need, easily imported into Google Docs, where you can manipulate it into beautiful custom reports using your own formulas. Before you set down the next version of your content strategy, take some time to analyze the data so your creativity will be in the best possible position to drive impact.