August 28, 2018

As marketers, we’ve spent decades leaning on the double definition of “creative” to shirk responsibility. We’ve conflated the traditional creativity of artists, writers, and poets, with the creative side of marketing and advertising — the copywriting, art design, and campaign content.

We’ve argued that creativity has a unique human quality that can’t always be explained or measured, and therefore our creative work similarly cannot be measured.

Perhaps there was a time when such arguments held true, back when the Don Drapers of the world sat atop towering skyscrapers. today, we live in a world where every single aspect of a campaign is carefully tracked and measured — every aspect except the actual content.

Times — and technology — have changed. Now we can finally start holding creative teams accountable for delivering campaigns with impact.

Not only do we have the necessary technology to accurately measure the effectiveness of creative, but after decades of tech-driven advancements in marketing, we owe it to our customers to bring a more rigorous level of scrutiny to what we’re saying to them in our marketing. We also owe it to our organizations — our CEOs, CFO, boards  — to approach marketing with a rigor and scrutiny fitting of the investments we make into these efforts.

The beginnings of these changes can be traced to the advent of A/B testing and its application in web analytics and digital marketing. Though rudimentary, this gave us an option to test and optimize copy, adding at least some accountability to the process. But A/B testing has its limits - whether that’s the time it takes to do the tests or the statistical significance of the findings. And in the end, the people writing those A and B options are themselves subjective creatives.
Fortunately, we are standing at the precipice of great change in our industry.

We’ve created powerful tools that are capable of invading people’s homes and lives through myriad channels. And in response, consumers today demand tailored content that speaks to them as individuals, not only in terms of their demographic makeup (table stakes at this point), but in who they are as individuals and what they believe in.

Within the next decade, I foresee the end of broadcast media marketing as we know it, as we develop capabilities to serve targeted content to viewers and make the viewing experience different for everyone. New technologies allow marketers to speak on a 1:1 level to a million of their customers without the need for a million individual copywriters and without wasting a single bullet. This is true personalization.

While creative endeavors have their time and place, when it comes to marketing campaigns, we have an obligation to provide concrete and data-driven reasoning for our creative choices, and to deliver the best results we possibly can. Creative, as we know it, is about to change, and we must all be ready.

Creative is dead. Long live creative.

by Alex Vratskides
Courtesy of mediapost

 

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