Big Data Might Make Creative People Feel Small

So big data is all the rage now. In politics, we saw data used to boost turnout in the recent election, and in marketing we’re seeing it pervade every initiative from start to finish. Where does that leave creative people?

Marketers are desperate for any logical way to measure their marketing efforts. Before they launch a campaign, they want accurate statistics on who their customers are and how best to reach them. Then they want an accurate prediction of how a proposed campaign will be effective. Then they want complete, real-time results with the ability to tweak a campaign midway through or assign blame if it doesn’t work as promised.

In contrast, creative people want to work on stuff that’s cool. And sexy. And agency executives want to do work that’s ultimately profitable. Sometimes the data supports doing less sexy marketing tactics and approaches. And when data tries to prove that a campaign isn’t working, the creatives might say, “give it more time,” or “they didn’t spend enough to run it.” But data, by virtue of its sheer existence, is hard to rebut.

It’s the subject of my new column on Talent Zoo. Which I wrote with no data to back up my assertions, just many years of observation working at agencies all over the country. Sometimes, that’s enough to go on.



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.