How APAC Marketers Are Merging Data And Creative

How APAC Marketers Are Merging Data And Creative

Making sense of the sheer volume of data available about customers past, present, and future has been one of APAC marketers’ biggest pain points.

Adding another layer of complexity: Taking that information and using it creatively to gain a competitive edge. That’s because data and creativity have been largely thought of as complete opposites—data is rational and knowledge—based while creativity involves imagination.

Yet finding the right mix between data and creativity, and disseminating that data into actionable creative programs that impact your target audience, is more essential than ever.

“The old truth still holds that great creative work comes from great briefs, but creative briefs can now be informed by huge amounts of data,” said Mohit Bhargava, general manager of sales and marketing at BIG4 Holiday Parks Australia. “It’s up to marketers to act as an effective conduit between data and creative.”

Using Data To Bolster Content

Like any good partnership, data and creative need to work harmoniously to create the best customer content. Moreover, given that raw data cannot create an emotional bond with a consumer in and of itself, it is the creative side of a business that needs the right type of targeted information to fully engage the consumer.

“The real inspiration and excitement comes from focusing on the customer problem we are wanting to solve, where data and analytics are the solution-enablers,” Bhargava told

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC) uses data in many creative ways to reach its audience, according to its CMO, Leisa Bacon. One example its “War on Waste” series, which involved a large amount of in-house research about the amount of plastic ending up in the ocean.

“We used the data, which included some shocking statistics—8 million tonnes a year of plastic ends up in oceans—as the hook for our outdoor, digital, and social creative to build interest in the program,” she said. “We also did a survey at the end to understand if we had done enough to change behaviour and used insights from that to help plan for where we needed more focus in the second season.”

In addition, the ABC used the Vote Compass data collection application to effectively profile its audience and create relevant and absorbing content in the lead up to Australia’s recent federal election.

“We had 1.6 million people complete an online survey ahead of the election, which gave us great content for our programs, as well as being a great engagement tool for audiences,” Bacon told “This demonstrates how being transparent with data and showing people where they sit can be very compelling.”

Data For Value-Added Personalisation

Similarly, global music-streaming platform Spotify uses data in a range of creative and personalised ways to reach its customers.

Serena Leith, director of marketing for Asia-Pacific, said the company thinks about “moments and audiences” just as much as it thinks about content.

“Content sits horizontally, and audiences and moments are the vertical peaks that we build everything around,” she told “We want to become indispensable to listeners, and part of how we do that is through our use of data. We have more than a billion different points of listening data we can use to see how people are using content.”

Spotify curates individualised weekly playlists for its subscribers by analysing listening data to identify patterns. The playlists contain a combination of regular listens and intuitive selections based on the listening habits of users with similar tastes.

Additionally, Spotify’s popular “Wrapped” campaign is an anticipated end-of-year event in which the company unveils listening data from throughout the year. There are two parts to it: a marketing campaign, which involves a number of billboards looking back on yearly music trends, and an individual event in which Spotify subscribers receive their personalised listening data from the past 11 months. For Spotify subscribers, these initiatives serve as an effective and personal value add to the service.

Image source: Spotify

Finding Inspiration Through Analytics And Teamwork

Certainly, having a vast amount of knowledge at your fingertips doesn’t automatically represent a big advantage, but when used jointly by data and creative teams, it can help to pinpoint where demand exists and how to target it.

One example is the way in which Adobe uses vast amounts of data alongside all of its creative tools to create its customer-experience management (CXM) campaigns. ( is owned by Adobe.) At the recent Sydney Symposium 2019, Alex Amado, Adobe’s vice president of experience marketing, said optimal customer experience nowadays means merging great content with great data.

“We have tens of millions of paying customers globally and hundreds of millions of users of our software,” he told Symposium attendees. “We want to provide them all with timely, contextual, and personal experiences, so we need to be able to disseminate deep customer insights into what they really want. The experience you deliver is what your customers are buying–that’s CXM in action.”

Data science is nowadays responsible for things such as mapping social networking ecosystems for demographics and other forms of audience targeting that would have been unimaginable just a decade ago. At the same time, it’s become increasingly complex due to its sheer size and scope. As a result, it’s becoming increasingly essential for departments to work together to share their data in the most mutually beneficial way.

Bacon said the ABC is fortunate that its audience data and insights and internal creative teams both sit within the audiences remit. “This means we are always working closely together to produce the best possible content.”

Added BIG4’s Bhargava, “Marketing is changing. For brands and businesses today, it’s about being helpful. Data used to better service customers or solve their problems when presented creatively undoubtedly has a better response. Does a creative approach to data help build trust with customers? In isolation, no, but when used to fuel the right product offering, absolutely.”