Making Maths Count
How we use maths in marketing
The message and the creative content is critical to a good advertising campaign. But maths has a key role to play in keeping things effective and results-driven, explains Nicola Potter from The Gate Edinburgh.
As a Digital Account Manager at the global advertising agency, The Gate Interactive, I’ve certainly used lots of maths skills over the years. To get this going, it will help if I tell you a little about our agency philosophy. I’ll then delve into how maths helps make our work successful. Finally I’ll explain a little about how I use maths in my day-to-day role.
Every agency needs a philosophy. Borrowed from Plato himself, ours has stood the test of time and governs everything we do. We believe that every successful, sustainable business needs to integrate the ‘universal values’: The True, The Good and The Beautiful. We consider how each project, each campaign, each piece of content must be shaped by: facts and logic (The True), what’s right and fair (The Good), and what lifts the human spirit (The Beautiful).
Now, for the purposes of this article let’s take the facts and logic (The True). ‘The True’ is a question of science. It’s about data that can be collected. It’s about evidence that can be verified. It’s about maths married with the practical human experience of ‘how things work’.
‘The True’ comes down to a whole lot of things. Here we’re talking about getting accurate data on competitors, target audience, brand attributes, Net Promoter Scores… and, what we use on a daily basis – digital analytics. And yes, the creative communication is also a huge part of a campaign’s success. But without the data helping us make decisions, it’s difficult to get results in digital.
Maths in management
My role sits somewhere between the creative team and the client. I represent the client’s voice in the agency. In effect, I am the gatekeeper – nothing comes in or goes out the door without my guidance. The basic process is simple: I meet with the client to help them set out their objectives and discuss how we’re going to measure a campaign’s success. Then I go back to the agency to write a brief and subsequently talk the creative team through what is required. Once the creative team have developed the concepts I make sure it meets the brief and can be delivered on time and on budget.
In between times I am constantly drawing on my maths skills. For starters, there is a lot of budgeting in my role. I take the clients budget, look at the analytics and the hard data and then try to split it up according to what the most likely route to success is. Timing plans are also a big part of what I do. There is always timing and budget adjustments to be made when it comes to creative work. Unlike data, creative work is a little less reliable.
And of course, we’re delivering all types of services – from complete website builds, to online adverts and social media posts. This means that there are lots of analytics and data available. Everything is accountable – right down to an individual ad level. So not only does that mean a lot of maths, it means a high level of reporting and constant refinement.
Maths and ‘how things work’
Over the past decade, I’ve seen the advertising industry evolve. And that’s partly thanks to data and maths. Maths keeps advertising effective and results focused. However, you’ve got to remember that it is a balance. You can’t get great stats without great creative communication – and vice versa. The combination of ‘The True’, ‘The Good’, and ‘The Beautiful’ helps remind us of that.
Nicola Potter is a Digital Account Manager at The Gate Edinburgh.