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“Hey, that’s creative!” Feels pretty good to hear, doesn’t it?

I’m “that guy” who always asks “Yeah, but will it work?”

Just because a thing is creative doesn’t mean it gets results. And getting results is the goal. Sure, it needs to be visually consistent with your brand, professional, blah, blah, blah…and if it’s creative too, that would be nice!! Nice but not necessary. It. Needs. To. Work.

Being creative:

Doing something or solving a problem in a new or different way.

Doing things in new and different ways? I’m in! But, and this is a big but, other things need to be riding on your creativity train to produce results. In fact, everything that makes a successful marketing campaign needs to ride along:

Attention– This is when you see creativity used most often. And being creative, taking a different, fresh approach, is especially good at getting and keeping attention. A triangle-shaped envelope, a man in a gorilla suit delivering your quote, an airplane flying a banner with your URL on it, live gold fish as your giveaway at a convention. By the way: worked, worked, worked, didn’t work (and I fear we were responsible for the deaths of many fish that day…).

Audience– You need to get the attention of the right people. Every single one of your clever triangle-shaped envelopes could be torn open with rapt anticipation. But if 80% of those people aren’t a prospect, your mailing is going to lose money.

Message– If your ridiculously creative gold fish giveaway gets fish in the hands of the right people, but the brochure you attached makes you sound like every other company like yours, you still fail you fish-murdering dope!

Offer– Okay, everything is cooking along. People LOVE the gold fish, most of them are in the hands of the right people and your brochure talks about issues that are important to them right now (the people, not the fish). But they’ve never heard of you (the people, not the fish) and you’re offering a 10% discount or some other lame incentive that measures .0000001 on the motivation-to-try-a-new-company scale, you fail.

You get the idea. Creativity is cool, and it’s great for style points. But, dear reader, it isn’t enough.