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Creativity in Marketing: Not What It Used to Be

By BLUE Software

Traditionally, when you heard the term “marketing creative” in a business meeting, you assumed the speaker was referencing the words and pictures in an advertising campaign, a la Mad Men.  Just like other business functions, however, “marketing creative” and the processes behind it have become more complicated and meticulous, more a la CSI.

Marketing today is not just about creativity.  The C-Suite no longer rewards the Marketing Department solely for its ability to create clever advertising campaigns.  Rather, Marketing now entails creativity and data analytics, product design, and customer experience.  Given this change, how should you be thinking about creativity in marketing?

In a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, authors Mark Bonchek and Cara France identify a few examples of what it means to be a creative marketer today.  These examples include:

  • Create with the customer, not for the customer.
  • Invest in the customer’s end-to-end experience.
  • Measure creativity.

Let’s take a closer look.

First, marketers now need to create with the customer, not just for the customer.  Customers today are not just consumers, they too are creators.  They develop content and ideas and share them through their own social media platforms and blogs.  This means marketers have to work with their customers from the beginning to integrate these experiences into larger marketing strategies.

Some large companies have gone so far as to immerse themselves in their customers’ worlds, requiring sales teams to spend time with customers and interview particularly loyal customers to identify pain points and determine what really drives customer satisfaction.  These experiences are then incorporated into the marketing message and creative design.

This is where a technology tool such as BLUE Software can come into play.  With collaborative, online proofing functionality, multiple stakeholders such as sales teams, agencies, and consumer research firms can review marketing assets in BLUE with an eye to the customer feedback they’ve received.  Stakeholders can comment on everything from the consumer message to the image in a single platform.  And creators love the fact that they no longer have to schedule multiple meetings and conference calls to get the feedback they need to move forward with their projects.

Next, marketers today need to focus on the end-to-end customer experience.  This means the customer experience is not just about the product.  It’s also about the purchase process, ongoing product support, and the customer’s relationship with the product and the brand over time.

From healthcare organizations to well recognized retail brands, companies are now investing in customer engagement tools such as welcome programs, customer portals, and personalized communications to foster this relationship.  By providing multiple touchpoints at which they can interact with their customers, these companies are hoping to establish real relationships with their base and differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

Again, the right technology can help.  One of the benefits of a solution like BLUE Software is that it protects brand integrity.  With Digital Asset Manager tools, the right versions of approved, proprietary artwork files such as logos, hero images, and boilerplate messaging are housed in a central repository – ensuring no matter what experience you have created for your customer, their interaction with your product and brand – online, on shelf, in the inbox – feels consistent.

Finally, because digital engagement is measurable – clicks, opens, visits, shares, follows, and likes, for example – marketing has the opportunity to measure itself in new ways.  Gone are the days of “marketing success equals industry awards” or “marketing bonuses equal marketing on budget.”

Marketing departments now access dashboards where campaign performance can be measured in real time, and across channels and geographies.  Marketers can ask questions such as, “Which marketing message performed better?” and make live adjustments.

The right technology can support these adjustments.  A Marketing Project Management solution like BLUE Software streamlines creative workflows, facilitates real time collaborative proofing, and stores approved marketing assets in a central location – enabling your marketing team to be nimble.  You can react to marketing data and create or adjust campaigns as necessary faster than ever.  In fact, BLUE’s Marketing Project Management technology can increase your “right time to market” by up to 75%.

That was then.  This is now.

Today, the consumer marketplace is marked by changes in consumer behavior, technology, and media, which in turn are changing the definition of “creativity” in marketing. Success is no longer about how innovative a marketing campaign is, but about how the campaign delivers: revenue, loyalty, and advocacy.  To achieve this, marketers are creating with the customer, facilitating end-to-end product experiences, and capturing hard data to measure success and adjust campaigns “on the fly.”

BLUE Software’s Marketing Project Management technology was designed with today’s marketers in mind.  We know Marketing Departments aren’t just comprised of artists and promoters, they’re staffed with analysts and entrepreneurs.  And when these new marketing teams add BLUE technology to their marketing stack, they go one step further to become forces of reckon in the marketplace.

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