Does our industry rely too heavily on data? 100% of the IMPACT team agrees

The holy grail of a communications campaign is a killer insight that unlocks an effective and memorable campaign idea. When this happens, we get directly into the mind of the consumer to deliver our message in a way that sticks.  

Often, data-led these insights will form the basis of the creative idea, the channel strategy or the media mix. Sometimes even all three. 

But as marketers increasingly expect data to inform decision making at all points in a campaign, we need to ask ourselves a question. Has that expectation given the industry a crutch to lean entire campaigns on single data points? 

The IMPACT team thinks so, and it’s a worry. 

Don’t get us wrong, data and statistics are important. They demonstrate human behaviour at scale and allow us to lock in on a tension that gives us room to deliver our messages. But data should inform, not dictate, and it should be used in a way that paints a comprehensive picture that can then be tested, trialled and refined. 

Campaigns that lack well-developed insights founded in comprehensive data and research fall into two camps. Those that simply become background noise to their target audience because they don’t cut through, and those that get it so badly wrong they get publicity for all the wrong reasons.  

Here’s a case study of a brilliant insight for a great campaign  

Our recent campaign for Connect Hearing was built from the insight that Australians don’t feel like hearing loss affects them – even when they suffer from hearing loss! This insight was gained from customer stories directly from the Connect Hearing team and was echoed in numerous pieces of research from around the country.  

To show Australians how hearing loss affects them, we did our own research into feeling “unheard” – something anyone can identify regardless of their hearing health, particularly in the wake of the pandemic. It clearly struck a chord, and the data that came from the research showed it was the right direction for the campaign.  

Armed with our research, we tested the story themes around being “unheard” by exploring which data points resonated most with the audience to tell our story. Once we found the right ones, we launched into a national communications campaign built around the research we’d conducted.  

The results? More than 100 pieces of media coverage, including two TV segments, with reach of over 26 million. The themes drove immediate action in the digital environment too, with social media activity generating more than 8,000 click to the Connect Hearing website. 

Diversify and challenge your data 

IMPACTs philosophy is that data must inform understanding of the audience, not the campaign. Missing the critical middle step is how you get campaign ideas that resonate with a statistic, but not with the audience you’re targeting.  

Understanding an audience’s behaviours, feeling and lifestyle habits is essential to reaching them in the right way at the right time. Brands really need foundational insights into audience mindset in order to create pointed campaigns that resonate. 

It’s why IMPACT developed its audience profile model. Layering qualitative data about audiences from internal teams with quantitative data from internal and external sources like social pages and Roy Morgan Helix personas, our team creates a profile of who a client’s audience is and what’s important to them.  

This is followed by a period of testing and refining the resulting profiles for their accuracy against the real customers they represent to determine if they will be of real value.  

Understanding who your audience is then creates a platform for discovering deeper key insights into their behaviour that will inform campaigns. This is key to ensuring consistent, reliable and effective cut through with the audiences that matter most to your brand.

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