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Data and Creativity— Finding the Left-Right Brain Balance (Mike Linton, Farmers Insurance CMO)

Posted on December 1, 2015 by Glenn Gow

Marketing systems have profoundly changed due to modern marketing technology (martech), which has finally opened a window to understanding consumer sentiment, and has lit a path to achieving marketing ROI. Some say this has diminished the importance of creativity—long believed the ‘secret sauce’ to powerful marketing. Mike Linton, CMO of Insurer and Insurance Financial Services provider Farmers Insurance, has a cooler mind on the matter. “I think of (marketing) like an iceberg: Below are the math and the insights—that’s really 70 percent of what marketing is—and above the water is the cool stuff that marketers do, that you see.” In this epsiode of Moneyball for Marketing, Mike discusses the balance between the creative and mathematical aspects of modern marketing systems and advises when to consider—or disregard—immediate return on investment. Some of the highlights include:

Right Returns: “ROI to me is really an important tool, but… there are some other things that you do in marketing where ROI …will actually stifle innovation,” says Mike. He takes us on a deep dive into this area, offering cases where he believes marketing systems should be ROI-driven, and other examples where requiring ROI will actually hurt business.

Digital Diligence: Offering firsthand experience, Mike reveals how Farmers Insurance retooled its digital presence to a 70 point improvement in its transactional net promoter score in three years. “We rebuilt the site based on consumer data, and what the consumers want to do; we laid out a multiple year road-map.” He shares the philosophy, prioritization, martech and execution tactics of that road map.

Brainy Balance: “There’s a time when data should lead, and there’s a time when data or research should follow,” says Mike, referring to the interplay between the surety of data influenced marketing and the innovation stimulated by creative marketing, “The left and right brains trade off here. There shouldn’t be a dominant one.” Mike walks us through some examples from Farmers own marketing system.

Mike Linton is the CMO at Farmer’s Insurance Group. The company’s comprising of Farmer’s Insurance Group make up one of the country’s largest insurer of vehicles, homes, and small businesses, and provide a wide range of other insurance financial services products. Mike is responsible for all brand management, research and insight, agency marketing, sponsorships, internal an external communications, advertising CRM, and the company’s digital efforts. 

Read the full transcript here

Glenn Gow

Glenn Gow is an expert in marketing performance, Coach, Board Advisor, Author, Speaker, Podcast Host and Founder & Advisor of Crimson Marketing. Follow me on TwitterLinkedInGoogle+. To get a free copy of Crimson’s One-Page Marketing Metrics Funnel, visit here.

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