The relationship between math and creativity is not a new concept. Pythagoreans established the connection thousands of years ago because they believed that math and music were interrelated, and that by understanding them, you could understand the universe.
Now, their thinking may have been a bit lofty, but there’s no denying they were onto something. Architecture, painting, dance and the aforementioned music –
all are proof of a numerical and creative interdependence. And in fact, one of the clearest correlations is the one most applicable to our purposes: marketing metrics and creative campaigns.
Way back in the digital stone age of 2014, Michael Schrage, a research fellow at MIT’s Center for Digital Business, summed up the marketing landscape by saying, “Digital media and tracking technologies, along with dramatically improved analytics, now mean that serious marketers can have an excellent idea of just how effective (or wasteful) their advertising really is. Ignorance is now a choice, not an excuse.” (Source: HBR)
He was right. Data-driven marketing ushered in an age of continually honed messaging. For years, the refinement of metrics allowed brands to do more than simply connect with their customers; they enabled companies to identify and connect with niche demographics.
This caused a massive shift in the way businesses conducted their marketing efforts. Larger creative-based campaigns were seen as increasingly risky, whereas targeted metrics-based campaigns created tremendous return on investment. The math, traditionally used to supplement creative, became the star.
But as sources for data gathering continued to grow, cracks in metrics-heavy marketing began to show. Mobile devices, apps, social media and websites began gathering so many analytics that analyzing them became burdensome. A given day’s data set often contradicted one from the day before, which itself likely contradicted ones from the previous week. In short, the numbers began to show what we knew all along: that consumers are fickle. Tastes change, and because of modern technology, they now do so at a never-before-seen pace.