Technology in Marketing: Good or Bad for creativity?

  • Written by Mihir Karkare

Technology is all pervasive in marketing today. No medium, no brand, no category is exempt – and it’s here to stay.

Does this mean that algorithms, code and machines will take over, taking creativity out of a marketer’s role (or at least reducing its importance)? Or will a marketer’s creative ability pay ever larger dividends even as the technological trend grows?

I’m an optimist. I believe the latter will be the case.

I’ll illustrate this through three points.

First, emerging new canvases for the marketer. As consumers spend more and more time on activities that are technology-driven, each of these becomes a new canvas for the marketer. Artifical intelligence (AI) assistants, voice and augmented reality (AR) are just three of the most exciting new canvases available.

You simply need to look at Wanna Kicks shoes to get a glimpse of how AR can be used in a fascinating manner. Their app allows users to try on sneakers by pointing their phone camera at their feet! The creative possibilities that something like this unlocks are endless. Similar examples abound across voice, AI assistants and other emerging technologies.

Second, consider the ability to micro-target segments. This was rarely, if ever, possible before the advent of digital. Whether these are segments created by looking at purchase/behaviour history of existing users or by looking at the browsing behaviour of unknown audiences, they present stunning opportunities for marketers.

All great marketers light up when they see a new brief – a message intended for a target group(TG) with specific communication objectives. Now imagine, while the key message remains the same, we get to speak to several different TGs in a targeted manner. Each TG will find some specific rendition of the key message that connects with them – and each rendition will be personalised and optimised to the individual. Again, the possibilities are endless.

Some of the work Mirum has done for its clients illustrates the power of such micro-targeting. For KFC, we send relevant messaging to consumers on the basis of their transaction history, preferred channel (SMS, email,social), geography, etc. We are also able to personalise messages on the basis of the interests (sports team affiliations, for example). This allows us to truly connect with every individual far better than would have been otherwise possible.

Third, look at the ‘Cambrian Explosion’ of creators in the past half decade. Each creator (and I don’t just mean content creators; app builders, 3D printing, etc, have allowed creators to move beyond content alone) has the potential to grow his or her audience and connect with it in a unique way. For a marketer, each creator presents a collaboration opportunity. Each collaboration is an opportunity for creative expression.

The trend is clear: the creative ability a marketer brings to the table, will continue to pay ever larger dividends even as technology becomes even more pervasive.

Mihir Karkare
EVP, Mirum India

Artifical intelligence, Automation, Creativity, digital marketing, digital technology, EVP, marketing, micro-targeting, MIRUM, OPINION, Targeting