Marketers are creative people. This sounds like a general truth, right? However, my experience shows that sometimes the creative part of marketing (or an excess of it) can do more harm than good.
In this post I will talk about several cases when an UNcreative approach to marketing is your way to go.
Designing a marketing strategy
Unless you only want to invest into guerrilla marketing, designing a marketing strategy is a much less creative process that you expect. As I outlined in my previous posts, you need to be very structured and do a lot research to craft actionable marketing steps. Marketing strategy includes competition analysis, market research, working out your USP and product positioning. Let’s be honest, even guerrilla marketing is noways based on research, e.g. of human perception and behavior.
Executing the strategy
This is where creativity can really become disturbing. Imagine that you have just spent several weeks or months on creating your marketing strategy. You are now starting to implement it. At the same time, you are surrounded by a swarm of “creative ideas” on what else can be done or tried. For example, you could implement some new email marketing software or cooperate with a famous blogger or redesign your website with a better color scheme… Those ideas may come from your boss, your colleagues, or even yourself. Are they good ideas? Sure. Are they helpful? Definitely not.
One of my professors used to say that a strategy is basically selecting in which direction to go. However, if you decide to go to the left, this mostly implies that you cannot go to the right.
Having all those creative ideas while you have already started moving in the selected direction results in contradicting marketing messages. It also prevents you from executing the originally selected strategy. And, ultimately, from making any progress at all.
Working with data
Very often somebody “creative” is not really keen on crunching numbers or digging into the database on a daily basis. Well, the bad news is that analyzing and processing data is one of the cornerstone marketing activities. How do you know how your last campaign performed? How would you select a banner design? Which customer segment should you focus on? The answer to all these questions is data – from an analytics tool, A/B tests or a CRM database.
Creativity is fine – as long as it is based on data insights.
Marketing a product is a long-term process that requires a lot of endurance. This means that the majority of your time as a marketer will be spent on rather tedious tasks. For example, preparing reports. Or re-writing the same marketing copy over and over. Or editing product specifications on the company website. Nothing super fancy or creative, as you see. If your creative spirit prevents you from concentrating on those kinds of tasks and doing them well, this can become problematic.
The role and the functions of a marketing manager have undergone significant changes in the past years. This most likely means that your marketing should become less creative but more data-driven and consistent.