Leo Burnett’s reputation in the marketplace has long centered on its powerhouse creativity to help solve clients’ business challenges. Grounding the agency’s creativity is to put people at the center of its thinking to help make a difference in their lives. Simply put, creativity has the power to transform human behavior. But what helps transform creativity?
The agency has been infusing its creative product with the type integrated data and analytics offerings that showcase its competitive advantage in the industry – the marriage of data and creativity to creating real value for people and brands alike.
Here, Chief Marketing Officer Katie Newman explains how technology in the service of creativity allows teams to better understand the problems people have and what brands can do to help solve those problems.
What role does technology play in marketing in the modern era?
Marketing is all about giving people a compelling reason to care about your brand. But we can’t make people care if they don’t know your brand exists. Technology is what enables marketers to find the right prospects, connect with them through more personalized experiences and refine those experiences based on behavior. Creativity will always be the main ingredient, but technology is secret sauce.
What specific types of technology can give marketers a competitive edge?
Powerful creative ideas — not necessarily technology — is what gives marketers a competitive edge. Technology is merely a means to help make our creative more relevant. DMPs and CRM platforms allow us to integrate our customer data, DSPs enable better targeting, and CGI and augmented reality make content more life-like. But at the end of the day, all of this is in service of creativity that evokes emotion. If it doesn’t make people care, then none of it matters.
What new tools and tech are you especially excited to use?
Leo Burnett owns a proprietary tool that analyzes the 6 billion online searches every day to understand what people want and need right now. It also helps marketers predict what people will want next.
When Facebook took off more than a decade ago, people were really excited about social listening. But when you think about what people share on social media, it’s about the image they want to project to the world about who they are and what they value, but it’s not always the reality of how people really feel and behave.
Search behavior, on the other hand, is an unfiltered reflection of what people really want and need, right now, without anyone else knowing. We can use this data to find unmet needs, inform better creative experiences and predict future trends. Search is essentially the new language of demand.
What are the barriers in the marketing industry when it comes to adoption of new tools and tech?
Fear of the unknown can paralyze clients. How can you invest in something that you don’t fully understand? Technology is always changing, so it’s difficult to keep up. As agency partners, it’s on us to guide our clients. Through The Core, we can facilitate customized training programs for our clients. We also offer clients always-on access to technology partners like Google, Facebook and Adobe to help them transform their business. Finally, we shouldn’t be afraid to start small and test new things. The biggest successes often start with baby steps.
Are there any misconceptions that need to be debunked?
Some marketers believe that technology is hindering creativity in advertising — that data and automation is killing the craft of emotional storytelling. I adamantly disagree with this. Technology has the ability to amplify — not hinder — creativity. It allows us to understand people better, serve up more meaningful experiences and find people in the moments that matter. As marketers, what we do needs to make people feel something so powerful that they are compelled to act. If we think about technology and creativity in separate silos, we fail to do that.
Any final advice you’d give to marketers?
When it comes to marketing, just because you can use shiny new technology doesn’t mean you should. Never use technology for the sake of trying to be innovative. Consumers are smart and can see through this, and it often leads to marketing that is convoluted and confusing.
Focus on making people feel and take action, and then apply the tools and tech to help you get there. If it’s successful, you’ll see it in the results.
Katie Newman is chief marketing officer at Leo Burnett.