Sunday, August 16, 2009

Creativity and Marketing

It seems nowadays people associate marketing (and marketing program) with "creative-ness" to gauge the effectiveness or success. What role does creativity play in marketing? How effective is creative-marketing? or How creative should marketing be?

Defining the terms:

Creative: (According to Wikipedia) Creativity is a mental and social process involving the generation of new ideas or concepts, or new associations of the creative mind between existing ideas or concepts.

Marketing: (According to American Marketing Association) Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

Measuring Creative Marketing:

Marketing and Creative(ity) may share no common element in their definitions. But as a matter of fact, marketing (programs) need creativity to arouse the attention level. Recall the AIDA model? (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action). People are more susceptible to novel and different, creative marketing programs. When people are impressed with a creative proposition, their defenses drop during the experience. But this could also backfire seriously if your propositions are perceived negatively or biaised - so, it's advisable to avoid being creative with sensitive topics.

Marketing, while focusing on the basics which is, effectively anticipating and solving the markets needs, sometimes need to engage a more creative avenue to create value or finding uncommon solutions to everyday problems. Using the AIDA model, creativity could be phased in the different steps of the process. This process needs to be coupled with a clear marketing unique selling proposition (USP) to define the purpose of the marketing program. Far too often we ignore the purpose of the marketing program and focus on the fun and creative part of it only.

So, as we established the need to have creativity in marketing, how do we learn this "creativity"? Good news! According to Jeffrey Gitomer (in his best selling book, The Sales Bible: The Ultimate Sales Resource), creativity can be learned!

Harvey Mackay's creativity killers includes:
  1. It's not in the budget
  2. The boss will never go for it
  3. Form a committee
  4. Think about it
  5. Leave well enough alone
  6. That idea could get you fired
  7. Its not my job
  8. Competition does it
  9. Competition does not do it
  10. Let the competition try it first (and see what happends)
  11. Sounds like a good idea, talk to legal
Here are some ideas on unleashing creativeness:

History is not creative - or can it be? By history, I mean modify somethings that's been done before. Do more than modify - improve it for the new product, new market, new trend, new expectations. But if this is someone else's idea, how can it be creative? Like it or not, most creative ideas are/were the results of a former influence.

Thinking "out of the box". Mental barriers are the worst creativity restriction. When you think out of the box, anything goes, everything has an opportunity. Push the limits on your ideas, use 6 "why's" instead of the standard 5-why problem solving steps. What have people not thought of? or would not think of? When you work in this mode and constantly challenge your mental creativity, your subconcious mind will do the rest of the work.

Courage to be different or take risks. Far too many creative thoughts vanish every minute without action. Those who seive the opportunity and take action always have the 1 mile advantage over the rest. And don't forget to have fun.

Set the mood or pace. Some people get's creative shocks while driving, others during the shower. Some people feel creative in the morning, while others may get those ideas over a cup of coffee in retreat. What's yours?

According to Kenichi Ohmae in the classic "The Mind of the Strategies", Habits of mind and modes of thinking can be acquired through practice to help you free the creative power of your subconscious and improve your odds of coming up with winning strategic concepts.

Final note about creativity and marketing, read Jack Trout's "Differentiate or Die: Survival in Our Era of Killer Competition" - Chapter 6. Creativity is Not a Differentiating Idea.

The Creativity Trap
Puffery has been replaced with vagueness. A large amount of today's advertisement has gotten so creative or entertaining that it's sometimes hard to tell what companies are even advertising.
[end of extract]

Creativity may get you that 15 seconds of attention. But focusing on USP will get your customers to purchase your products. Never compromise creative promotion with fundamentals that sells (unless you're only after media awards)! Creativity needs to walk hand-in-hand with the USP to achieve an explosive marketing program result. If isolated, creativity draws the attention to itself and that's it.

No comments: