Creative Courage Is Required

Henry Ford said that if he listened to his customers he would have given them a faster horse. So why are today’s marketers still giving their audience faster horses? Why are we still seeing me-too data-driven advertising and marketing? Imagine this scenario: the ad agency for Geico, the Martin Agency, says to the CMO, “We think a roaming lizard is the perfect brand spokesman for you.” CMO says, “Yeaaaah, the data shows that people want trust.” Martin Agency: “How about a caveman?” CMO: “No.” Martin: “A camel?” CMO: “You’re fired.” 

Qualitative Data – A Better Marketing Guide

As you can guess, the Martin Agency and that CMO weren’t fired. They created a brand icon that discarded the existing quantitative data. Qualitative data during that campaign’s build-up showed bored, distracted, and disinterested looks on focus groups’ faces as their “trust” campaign played out. Probably used to highlight the real campaign they hoped for, the Martin Agency used qualitative data of the trust campaign to tank itself. Now, roll out the lizard!

Have you heard of the Savannah Bananas? They sell out every game, which is unheard of in the major leagues, let alone the minor leagues and lower. The owners not only broke the data rules to start with but the follow-up qualitative data revealed that their work was not done. Their sold-out stadium still had fans leaving before the game was over. Their mission was only half fulfilled and if you only looked at ticket sales as your data guide, you would have missed that there was still a problem to solve.

Flipping the Script is Good Writing

Branding and marketing tell your audience what to think – not the other way around. Every breakthrough product or service tends to go against the grain of whatever quantitative data was out there. In the end, run of the mill marketing gets you run of the mill results. Take a chance and launch a campaigns that is based on desired qualitative results, not current quantitative data. We’re in a data driven world of robots, but for now, people still have emotions that transcend data. Use real emotion instead of data. And yes, you can A/B test it.