To define the current balance between data and creativity in marketing, we first have to look to the past for context. Millennial marketers have never known a world without tech and data. But for veteran marketers, the growth of technology use in marketing may seem a slow evolution, despite the rapid pace of change.

"Historically, the term 'marketing creative' has been associated with the words and pictures that go into ad campaigns. But marketing, like other corporate functions, has become more complex and rigorous.... Do these changing roles require a new way of thinking about creativity in marketing?" write Mark Bonchek, founder of Shift Thinking, and Cara France, CEO of the Sage Group.

Therein lies a chicken-and-egg scenario in which technology both enables and demands further complexity within marketing programs.

The infusion of technology into marketing can pose a fundamental, even existential question for marketers: Is there a role for creativity in a modern marketing program? Moreover, is technology chipping away at creative expression and freedom?

At Walker Sands we surveyed roughly 300 marketers to assess their attitudes toward technology and determine the practical uses of marketing technology in their professional lives.

As technology becomes increasingly central to marketing success, one theme stands out in the research: In a tech-centric world, what role does creativity play?

Unleashing Creativity

Most marketers predict that in five years marketing will become more of an equal mix of creativity and technology than it is today, indicating that marketers feel technology will replace creativity at least to some extent.

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Jennifer Mulligan is an account director in the marketing technology practice area at Walker Sands, an integrated PR and digital marketing agency for B2B technology and professional services companies.

LinkedIn: Jennifer Mulligan