We marketers are easily spooked. We saw this when the recession hit – both brands and agencies alike soon started prioritising tried-and-tested concepts over bold or provocative ideas. I can understand why; mitigating risk makes sound business sense. However, it can also accelerate a downward spiral. Replaying proven ideas leads to mediocre work, which in turn can result in unhappy clients. It’s only a matter of time before profits start to slide.
This is one of the (many) reasons I’m worried about Brexit. Our messy divorce from the EU has cast a shadow of fear and doubt across the marketing landscape and I can practically hear the sound of a thousand exciting ideas being quashed. In my view, we can’t give in to fear. However, we do have to accept that sustaining innovation and creativity may become difficult as Brexit starts to bite.
Our best hope of thriving during these turbulent times may lie in data. Putting data in the driving seat enables us to make better decisions about creative work but more importantly, it can lend us agility. New ideas can be tested on the fly and budget can be redirected rapidly to ensure that fleeting opportunities don’t exceed our grasp. If we fail, at least we fail fast and have the opportunity to learn from our mistakes.
There is also security in data. The essence of innovation is measured risk and we now have the tools to quantify risk with greater accuracy than ever before. We may not be able to predict the future but we do have unprecedented insight into the risk and reward behind key decisions. This should embolden us and give us the confidence to take more chances.
Brexit may actually present an opportunity for data-driven marketers. Data has always had an image problem and we now have a chance to address this by revealing how it can support innovation and unleash creativity to deliver tangible results. It’s time for data experts to step out of the shadows and demonstrate their ability to drive growth. Despite the current doom and gloom, these marketers may well lead the way towards a brighter, more innovative future.