By being more data focused, creative teams can build stronger relationships with their marketing teams and other stakeholders to go beyond being seen as a services department to be a strategic contributor to the business.
Are you a creative type that is sick and tired of hearing about data and analytics from your marketing partners? Creative teams are often not tasked with much in the way of data analytics but being data-driven can really move the needle for creatives. The reality is that data does matter. With budgets going down and the demand for creative work going up, clients want to know as much as they can about their customers, how their creative is performing in the market, etc. By being more data focused, creative teams can build stronger relationships with their marketing teams and other stakeholders to go beyond being seen as a services department to be a strategic contributor to the business.
How Can Creative Teams Be More Data Driven?
According to the 2019 Creative Management Report from inMotionNow and InSource, 19% of organizations do not measure the value of creative work, and 12% of creatives are unsure of how their organization measures creative work. As more and more organizations move creative work in-house, measurement will be increasingly important to improve efficiency and prove the value of the investment in creative.
But how should we be measuring the value of creative work? In the report, respondents named these as a few of the key ways creative value can be measured:
- Number of requests received each week
- Number of projects in progress
- Number of versions before approval
- Number of clients or project billings
- Hours it takes to complete an average project
- Percentage of projects delivered on-time
- Number of proofs before approval
- Time taken to receive proof feedback/approval
- Designer workload
- Number of clients that stick to 2-rounds vs. those that require more rounds of revisions
- Production quality (how many times the project is reopened for edits after deployment) Percentage of work spent on specific departments, customer-facing vs. stakeholder
- Financial impact of projects completed (money saved or earned for the organization)
When I lead an operations team for an in-house agency, I was often experimenting with reports. I wanted to better understand why some jobs took longer to get through approval versus others. I thought at first it was the type of job, video versus web or digital, for example, but when I ran the report that didn’t seem to be the issue. Then I ran the same criteria but by creative team thinking maybe one copywriter/art director duo was making more mistakes or not hitting the mark. That wasn’t the problem either. Then I ran a report by client and, AHA! I found out that one of our internal clients seemed to always take twice as long to get his work approved than anyone else.
When I delved deeper I saw that that client had four other people on his team in the approval loop. Looking back through previous jobs for that client, I could see that the people on the review list were countering each other’s comments. So the designer would do what one said, then the other reviewer would “undo” that and ask for something else.
When I went to my client with this data he was stunned. He had no idea this was going on and was very impressed that we identified this problem. He was even more impressed when I showed him how we could set him up as the “ultimate” approver so he could see everyone’s comments and override the ones that he didn’t want to pass along. This way the creative team only saw the final changes that the client actually wanted them to make.
But the story doesn’t end there. Seeing what we were capable of providing by leveraging data, my client asked if there was a way for him to receive a report each quarter of how many jobs he and his team opened, which ones were completed, and how many rounds of approval each one went through. We set it up immediately. He used this report to help with several key initiatives:
- Justify hiring more people
- Train his team on writing better creative briefs
- Make sure the jobs being opened and delivered supported his strategic plan
- Measure his return on investment
That’s just one example of how creative data can help your marketing partners and point out the value the creative team brings to the table.
In summary, data is more important than ever, and partnering with your marketing counterparts is easier if you can bring some data of your own to the table. Be creative with your data and experiment. The more you experiment with reporting, the more ways you’ll have to show the value your creative team provides to the organization.
About the author: Debbie Kennedy is former Head of Advertising Operations with CarMax, and is currently Creative Director for Capstone Production Group, and CEO of Write for You, a Digital Content and Creative Workflow Consulting Firm based in Durham, North Carolina. She’s been a power user and advocate of inMotionNow since 2014.