“Right now we're by the side of the road, shouting and running as the customer drives past on their consumer journey, fighting to get their attention,” said Harty. “We should be the navigator by their side, guiding them, but first we have to get into that car.”
The tools available for data gathering today are far more sophisticated and developed than many believe and rather than be intimidated by that, creatives need to understand it's like a wider colour palette they can draw on when crafting an idea, he explained.
The industry needs to give up on broadcast—on shouting the same message over and over and over regardless of what stage of the purchase cycle the customer is at. The big idea is still great but it should be tailored for the individual rather than repeated ad nauseam. For example, you're a car dealer and someone's researching a car on your website, they are particularly interested in a car brand.
“Once we know this, we should change the messaging. We should be able to say, this is our model of the year, this is our SUV or compact or whatever they're interested in. If they spend time on a model, show attributes, if they pick a colour go for the close.”
Creativity needs to put the salesman back into selling. It's no longer an impersonal experience. “One ad won't tell a story, there are multiple parts to this just as there's multiple parts to any sale. We have to be messaging people and as they move from step to step our message should be changing to be more focused and relevant coming up to the final sale.”
What Harty hopes for is for creatives to embrace the technology and all that is possible and use the clear behavioral milestones to augment their creative strategy. “They should be blowing their clients away with the strategy that is possible.”
It shouldn't all lie with the creatives however, he concluded. “Every part of the process has to understand the overall sales strategy and we have to demand this of each other. Media agencies have to ask creative agencies if the idea will sell. Creative has to demand that they understand the client's sales process. We have to ask more of each other.”