How the Focus of ROI is Killing Creativity

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What was the ROI? In todays business environment, the answer to this question is becoming more and more difficult to quantify. Businesses want a smorgasbord of cold, hard data in order to help them make informed decisions with regard to their marketing budgets. But do the numbers tell the whole story? Whats more, in our effort to maximize returns, are we killing creativity?

As far as the numbers are concerned, we can hardly fault any business for wanting concrete data. Data makes us feel comfortable and confident and gives us something tangible to hang our hat on. Analytics serve a purpose and will continue to play an important role in todays ROI-driven world, but if you are focusing exclusively on the ROI of your latest campaign, you may be missing the bigger picture.

If we begin to believe that the focus on ROI is truly diminishing the importance of creativity, we need only look to YouTube , and Old Spices Man Responses campaign, to be reminded of the reach and power a truly creative campaign can have. The creativity of this campaign created something extremely important to potential Old Spice consumers, it created an experience. This intangible, this experience, proved more valuable to Old Spice than any banner ad or magazine inlay could have. It doubled their sales.

Of course, developers of the “Man Responses” campaign were eventually able to obtain audience data through site analytics, thus allowing them to calculate a probable ROI on their investment, but we must remember that these calculations take time. Creative marketing begs you to engage with the advertiser, to experience, share, and ultimately remember the campaign. While Old Spice could attribute an increase in sales to their YouTube presence, they could not quantify the impact consumer change in perception would have on their product, and many times this brand perception and awareness can prove to be the most valuable outcome of a campaign.

So, how is the focus of ROI killing creativity? Creativity gets killed when we allow ourselves to be courted by data. We must remember in this new “flat” world, where the internet has created a level playing field, that creativity is what allows us to break through all the noise.

Creativity is important; it is important to your consumers and it is important to your business. Maintain a balance of results driven by both data and creativity and ROI will follow.

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