How to use data-driven creativity to fuel your creative engine: Start with the Questions

Written on 
September 28, 2021

Last week, Atellio sponsored an educational webinar with Henry Stewart entitled, “From Brief to Deliverable: How to use data-driven creativity to fuel your creative engine.”  Stephanie Ma, Senior Manager at Walmart Creative Operations, Nick Gubbins, co-founder and CEO of Atellio, and Clair Carter-Ginn from the Forecast Agency discussed tactics of data collection and strategic benefits of shifting away from the commonly held notion that creative production is a purely artistic endeavor to a data-driven model that benefits the brand, the content consumer, and the teams producing the creative content as guided by facts. 

While creativity is an art, the process of making creative content can produce data that may lead to great insight and drive a more transparent, measurable outcome.  

Demystifying the process does not require new tools to start. “Start with the questions,” Clair Carter-Ginn suggested, “and collect as much data as you can.  Count how many emails were required to staff a project.” 

Creative teams are stretched with more requests, faster turnaround, budget and resource pressure, and complexity from distributed, hybrid or fluid teams. By looking at the right strategic questions, operational data can help in-house agencies or hybrid teams be more efficient with resources, produce better content, improve personalization, improve advertising investments, and justify when and how to grow the creative team.

The organizational demand for increased content volume, velocity, and complexity is not limited to marketing.  Nick Gubbins pointed out, “We’re seeing it across the organizations using our platform in areas of HR, training, sales, and operational functions.”

Stephanie Ma shared how Walmart’s in-house agency is able to use the data to transform the resourcing process. “It was difficult to say no or pushback to requests because we are an in-house agency. Once we were able to measure the interactions throughout a request, we could implement a resourcing program.  First, we built an intake form. Then, we provided an SLA or template for the project types. With that, we chose to surface the process back to the requestor. This has benefited everyone by providing a structure so the creative team knows when things are due ahead of time and by surfacing where deliverables are in the process, we can provide transparency and eliminate the ‘black box.’ You don’t just drop your request and nothing happens until you receive it back anymore.”

As a suggestion to get started, you may want to consider the following questions outlined below that go beyond project duration and budget v. actual.  Consider the data you are collecting today in your project management, finance, and performance marketing analytics. How easily or difficult would it be to answer the following questions? 

  • What’s our utilization of in-house resources?
  • What is our studio’s capacity at a given time?
  • Is our in-house agency cost effective for certain types of content?
  • How much time is creative review adding to turning around a given asset?
  • What’s our average turnaround time per content type?
  • How do we define an SLA with historic data?
  • How many freelancers are added at each stage of a production process?
  • How many models did we book / creatives that we hired took into account diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)?
  • How much does it cost to create [insert campaign / content here]?
  • During A/B testing, how much did A cost to produce vs. B?
  • What was our weighted ROI (including production) on Campaign X?
  • From historic data, when does it make sense to depend on freelance vs full- time?

We’d love to hear your feedback on the topic and how your organization approaches data in the overall creative content production process.

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