We’re often tasked with making a choice between one or other in life: do we go with what we know, or do we explore the unknown; the strange possibilities that we can only dream of? This decision making is very prevalent in the world of marketing. On one hand, some marketing strategies are so tried and true that they essentially become a safe standard. On the other, taking a risk with creative marketing can have rewarding results.


In the end, we’re left with more questions than answers. Is creativity something that marketing should pay more attention to? Should standard best practices be kept because they’ve worked for so long? Do marketers today focus too much on presentation and not enough on content itself?




Delivery vs. Content


A semi-recent piece from columnist Peter Minnium posted to MarketingLand explores an interesting idea present in the world of digital marketing. Because the possibilities of technology are so vast and ever-expanding, many marketers put a lot of focus on how technology can deliver content and how it can gather data about content without putting nearly as much effort into actually creating content that lands. In his view, this is definitely a wrong decision.


Looking at it from a hypothetical point of view, imagine you’re the lead marketer who’s trying to gain brand visibility for your newest product. You’ve come across a new analytics software that can better tell you where your audience is, what your audience is interested in and how receptive they are to your content. You create some content and thus the game begins. After checking the data, the content isn’t doing as well as you hoped. You go back to the drawing board and try again, with only tangentially different results.


What’s missing from this example is creativity. We as humans like to understand things in a very exact way, and interpretation and creativity aren’t always second nature. We like to know more about how many people liked something as compared to why they liked it — one is exact, one is subjective. Marketing has to have this subjective, creative edge in order to seize a consumer’s attention. Without it, what good is crunching numbers in the first place?


Visual Storytelling and Innovations


We all know that visual marketing is going to start taking over the digital realm within the next year or so. We’ve already seen it take root in platforms like Instagram and Facebook Live. With visual storytelling comes room for innovation, and innovation and creativity are almost synonymous.


Look at the success of platforms like YouTube. Prior to content creators utilizing YouTube’s video sharing and subscription platform in interesting ways, the website itself wasn’t nearly as popular. Now YouTube content creators are appearing on talk shows right along with average celebrities and are making a significant amount of money for their efforts.


Marketers are learning from these trends and utilizing the power of creative video to make marketing magic. Content consumers want something different — they don’t want the same old commercials over and over again with the same formula.


In the early days of television, a commercial was simply holding up a product and giving it a sales pitch. We’ve evolved from there — why shouldn’t we continue to evolve using visual mediums as the biggest modern example of marketing innovation?


But What about Best Practices?


Just because marketers need to embrace creativity doesn’t mean they need to turn every piece of content into an abstract commentary on consumer existentialism. Creativity should be an addition to your marketing ideas — not a complete replacement. Standards and practices work because they’re based on experience, science, results and data. It’s possible for a marketer to create a creative piece of content while still promoting it using standard marketing best practices.


Here is where the fear is — traditionalist marketers believe that creativity is the antithesis to marketing when instead it elevates it. The more creative you get with your marketing, the more attention you draw to your brand. Be more experimental with your marketing this year and you’ll be surprised by the positive results.


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