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Creativity and data analysis are often viewed as separate efforts. But senior marketers who unite data and creativity – dubbed “integrators” – enjoy above-average revenue growth rates, according to a survey from McKinsey.

The analysis is based on responses from 220 CMOs and senior marketing executives, roughly one-fifth of whom McKinsey called “integrators.” While the number of integrators is small (n=40), McKinsey identified several areas in which they differ from other marketers who aren’t integrating creativity and data analysis to the same degree.

Advanced Analytics

Integrators are doing a better job of putting analytics to use, according to the report. For example, 70% are using advanced analytics, compared to about 4 in 10 other respondents. Likewise, almost two-thirds employ customer journey analytics, versus about half of the other respondents.

As such, integrators use more insights than their peers, whether those are traditional in scope (focus groups and other research methods) or data-driven (such as customer-journey analytics and artificial intelligence).

McKinsey notes that “moving advanced consumer insights out of the background and onto the dynamic front lines of customer engagement gives analysts a new voice within the creative process.”

Collaboration

Integrators are also ahead of their peers in making integration an organizational structure. Half say that marketing and IT work together on a shared vision – something that’s critical in fostering that relationship. By contrast, just 22% of “isolators” (those use who data and creative processes, but without integrating them) report marketing and IT collaboration, as do just 4% of “idlers” (who have made insignificant process in using data-driven marketing practices).

Beyond that collaboration, integrators are more apt than their peers to use A/B testing and dynamic creative optimization.

Room for Improvement

Integrators are certainly ahead of their peers in many ways – including the desire for so-called “whole brain talent” – but they still can improve in some areas.

For example, while integrators score themselves well on customer experience and operating models, they haven’t created much separation from others when it comes to measurement and ROI as well as the creative use of media and other channels.

Only one-third of integrators have the ability to track the ROI of their creative content for all campaigns and in all channels, although that is ahead of their peers (15%). And while integrators are 2.5x more likely than isolators to apply artificial intelligence to their marketing efforts, only one-quarter do so.

The full analysis can be viewed here.

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