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Is creativity getting too clever?

Written by: 
By Sean Masters

Estimated reading time:
3 minutes, 24 seconds.

There is a great deal of insight available to marketers in our modern world and it means we can target our customers in a far more individual way. We can drill down into minute detail giving us unprecedented access into people’s personal space online. But is this a gift or has it made us lose focus on what really matters?

There is no doubt that the advent of artificial intelligence and algorithms has changed the way we market to people. Marketers thirty years ago would have given their right arm to find out the behaviour patterns of their customers to enable them to create personalised experiences that react to people’s exact requirements and interests.

But maybe these marketers thirty years ago would have been wrong to want more. Maybe not having such easy access to data made them focus more on the marketing strategy and less on logistics. Maybe we’ve been spoilt so much now that we’ve forgotten about the basics?

Analysis

When you begin a marketing campaign what is your first step? Is it about taking a business objective and then building strategy to make that objective a reality? Or is it about looking at the tactical elements available and then utilising as many as you can? How much do you focus on remarketing, PPC advertising and Facebook algorithms and how much emphasis do you put on the fundamental marketing message?

Ultimately, we can use all the marketing tactics in the world, optimise the latest technology and send messages to our key audience every day of the week. But if we’ve forgotten to assess what the purpose is, what we want to get out of it and exactly what message we want to convey, then what are we doing? It just becomes a lot of marketing noise that’s adding to our already incredibly busy digital world. Where is the value to both the company and the customer?

Strategy first

When was the last time you sat down and really thought about the creative? What comes first in your plan – the message or the channel?

Marketing strategy should be channel neutral. It should look at what the company wants to achieve and then how it’s going to achieve it in terms of positioning, segmentation and targeting. Only when the overarching strategy has been decided upon should the relevant channels be chosen. Because how can you choose effective channels if you don’t know what you want to achieve and you don’t know who you’re speaking to?

Without a clear strategy driving our marketing then the best we can ever hope for is ad hoc messages that may or may not resonate with an audience. Instead of driving a marketing plan to achieve an overall objective, instead we are using analytics to overwhelm or challenge our customers. It might be sophisticated in terms of technology and incredibly clever from a scientific point of view, but is it what our audience wants and is it benefiting anyone?

Creativity

Whatever the activity, as marketers we should never forget the experience for our customers.

Sometimes all we can hope for is that they see our campaign.  And we don’t mean how many impressions it’s had, we mean people who have really seen it. Those who have taken the time to look at it and digest it. In our media rich world, that’s what we should be aiming for. Make the creative eye catching, interesting and on message so that it actually grabs the attention of your audience. Then have that solid call to action so they engage. Put AI and algorithms aside. The best chance you have of success is to have a good looking campaign that will grab someone’s attention quickly and will make them take notice.

How much time do you spend on data and how much on creativity? Is the balance right? Maybe going back to basics and having a solid campaign with simple messaging and catchy ideas is what we all need to focus on. After all, we don’t remember the adverts that challenged us or invaded our space, we remember the ones that we enjoyed or cared out. That’s the most important thing.

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