Who determines what works and what doesn’t? The argument of campaign creativity versus campaign results is as old as business itself.
The item that has stuck in my head for a long time is when creativity in marketing and advertising campaign does not achieve its business objectives, who is ultimately to blame and what can be done? Clearly, big orgs can overcome bad ideas, see some of the horrendous, boring advertising from stuffy agencies serving the automobile industry. But what happens to us in the small shops? Shops like the one I toil in do not have the opportunity to invest countless resources, both personnel and financial, in the hopes that the campaign might work.
Unlike us small David’s, the big Goliaths, with ample resources behind them, can make bad decisions and absorb the losses when they don’t pan out. More times than not, these big companies decide to take the safe way out rather than pushing the envelope to make engaging marketing either through the messaging itself or the approach to share those messages. But even so, they miss the opportunity to make relevant marketing that works.
This ‘paralysis by analysis’ comes from a variety of sources. Internal politics, myopic leadership, short deadlines with even shorter budgets, focus groups – all play roles in the embracing of what we like to call ‘the lackluster.’ Our responsibility to combat this waste of talent and resources is to spend all of the time necessary – either alone, or through collaboration, to create the best possible solutions to the marketing challenges before us. Otherwise we are short-changing ourselves, our organizations and our art for the easy way out and the hope of mediocre results.
Making the decision to go in one direction or another with a theme, copy, visuals or more can be justified by facts, but more times than not, it is an arbitrary decision. Yes, there are some rules, especially in the world of graphic design where science can determine the choice of palettes according to the response of the brain and corresponding emotion.
On the other hand verbiage, tone and context can help make the marketing’s impact more significant, but the data supporting these decisions is more anecdotal, especially for those of us not having focus group research to guide our way.
The great point in all of this is that ideas are free. Let me repeat that: ALL IDEAS ARE FREE. Implementing those ideas is where the issues begin. Only at that stage do you have to worry about budget and finances and all of those pedestrian items that we have to live with every day.
But when you’re in the brainstorming mode, don’t worry about such issues. Putting your best ideas forward, even if they may be a tad unrealistic, can provide a virtual gymnasium for your imagination from where your best ideas may be exercised. But, if you don’t put your mind to pushing the boundaries and thinking the unthinkable, well, then we’re all doomed to serving the lowest common denominator. What fun is that?
My job here is to push myself and you to make the best marketing possible to achieve our goals. That means aiming for that elusive point where your art and the marketing converge perfectly. If you reach that holy grail, the financial support will flow, the tickets will sell themselves, and more people than you can accommodate will seek you out to participate in your programs.
Now that’s a place where we can all live!