Heidi Bullock, Marketo’s VP of Demand Generation, spoke with AdRoll as a part of a series of interviews with original thinkers in marketing. Bullock explained her approach to measuring the success of creative projects and explained her predictions of the future of 1:1 marketing.

The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Q: How do you balance data-driven strategy and emotionally driven concepts?

Hedi: Emotionally driven concepts and a data-driven strategy can really go hand-in-hand. A richly designed concept is important—but how do you know if it achieved the marketing goal that it was intended to address? Marketers need the ability to listen and respond so they can understand which concepts work most effectively for the intended target audience. Marketers need data to understand if a) the campaign was really emotional for the target audience (i.e., not just the ad agency), and b) did it help achieve the business goal? A great ad concept can be leveraged across various channels, and we now have the ability to understand the overall campaign performance, in addition to particular channel performance (e.g., mobile drove more conversions than social).

Q: What are the top three ingredients for creative that amazes and inspires?

Heidi: It is really important to understand the persona first—because what amazes and inspires a 40-year-old woman in California may not be the same for a 40-year-old woman in New York. If the persona is well understood, the top three ingredients for creative that amazes and inspires are:

  1. Visually compelling. Does the imagery stand out and resonate with the audience?
  2. Impactful. The copy AND visual has to hit a chord with the potential buyer that really speaks to them—meaning did it inspire, educate or entertain?
  3. Simple. People have to get the message FAST.

Q: How does data help you tell stories and connect with customers?

Heidi: Data is critical because it helps you truly understand your customer. Today, it’s more important than ever before to have the ability to listen to your customer across all channels and understand behavior—not just what they tell you on a form or survey. It is great if you can incorporate buyer intent data into your personas. You can also get more immediate feedback on what is working or not. For example, marketers can leverage marketing automation solutions like Marketo to send communications based on real buyer intent behavior. You can easily see what someone responds to. It is a great way to be targeted and personal and ensure you really know your buyer. When you really understand what your customer likes, dislikes, worries about and gets excited about, you can develop more of a personal and relevant conversation with your buyer.

Q: What’s the number one measure of an awesome marketing campaign?

Heidi: The number one measure of an awesome marketing campaign is if it hits or exceeds the goals you set out for it. Ideally you are clear about the goals from the start. For example, “by running this ad campaign, the team aims to increase average pageviews on our key product page from three to six by the end of the year, which will result in an X percent increase in conversion.” The goals can vary from increasing loyalty, reactivating buyers, etc., but a good campaign means it was effective in reaching those goals.

Q: How important is personalization to your advertising campaigns?

Heidi: Personalization is critical today—and buyers expect it. For example, just because I am a female in my early 30s does not mean I love clothes; my behavior may indicate that I like tools and building projects, and buyers want marketers to know that. It is also an exciting time for personalization. The idea is not a new one—marketers have talked about 1:1 marketing for 20 years—but now it is becoming real. For example, Marketo’s Ad Bridge makes digital advertising more personal by connecting Marketo’s marketing insights with Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and more. Now marketers can effectively target audiences based on who they are, their stage in the buyer journey and their individual behavior over time, to deliver more personalized digital ads.

Want to learn more about the intersection of Big Data and marketing? Download AdRoll’s Big Data and Big Ideas white paper.