The Who, What, and How of Creative Marketing
A group of marketers sits behind a one-way mirror, taking scrupulous notes on a focus group. Nearby, a marketing specialist is scraping metadata on area demographics, looking for patterns. Another team member is reading, consuming, and interpreting survey results. An analyst is crunching spreadsheets, shifting pivot tables and cross-referencing sheets. This data is the raw foundation of marketing, but what comes next?
Next comes the creatives. The creative process can really be looked at as more of a shaping process than a process of pure creation. Responsible marketing begins with the foundational data and uses it to tell a story—why this product will or won’t fit a market, why the such-and-such market is underdeveloped, why there is or isn’t more potential. Creatives shape and form data like clay, shaping a narrative that is sensible, sellable, and accessible. The creative process ends when a product is created: a tangible offering of data to enter a communication channel and affect the marketplace.
One of the foundational creative marketing roles is that of the copywriter. It is the copywriter’s job to interpret data in a way that is accessible to either business partners or end-game consumers. The copywriter shapes numbers into a storyline. Once a cohesive narrative has been created, the copywriter passes his work on to the next creative: the designer.
The designer’s core function is to interpret the storyline into a functionally beautiful presentation. This can mean taking a data-driven narrative and creating an infographic that eases accessibility. Design can go into both print and digital spectrums. If the storyline calls for a more complex dissemination, the creative team can call in a videographer or animator to shape storyboards into a movie. Regardless of the channel decided, the designer must be careful to choose a design appropriate for that channel.
The Creative Director
Overseeing all of this is a creative director. He or she sets the tone and pace of the project, ensuring an adequate balance between care and efficiency. It is their job to ensure the integrity of the project and protect the funnel that focuses the project to a consumable end. That funnel starts with raw data, and typically a lot of it. It is then analyzed and interpreted into a cohesive storyline. The creative director needs to be found in both qualitative and quantitative analysis to ensure that this transition happens without losing the meaning of the data.
The story is then focused into a market touch point: a specific, functional design that makes sense given the limitations or opportunities of the channel being used.
Putting it All Together
When building a creative team, a marketing department needs to strike a delicate balance between research and creative expression. The creative process can look a bit mystical, but it must start grounded in data and end grounded in production. In order to keep this focus, a creative talent must be open to feedback, must be resilient and must have a strong backbone. As a team expands and fills out, it can add specialists. Editors who focus on grammar, digital specialists who focus on search engine optimization, project managers who help steer a project through the steps of the creative process, or web developers, who can take the design to the next level in a web setting.
The world of creative marketing is wide and broad and has room for nearly endless opportunities.