The marketing & advertising agencies have been built on the power of creativity. A genius of insight or that amazing spur of creative thinking were the foundations of the best ad campaigns building some of the biggest brands around the world.
The glorified strategic planning departments would run as much research to build these insights and they were qualitative. But the rise of digital gave way to an enormous amount of data which if tapped in the right way provided you insights on performance, brand, audience insights, consumer behaviour, and so on.
In short, the creative process became more intelligent than intuitive. To quote from Forrester which describes this evolution in a great way.
“Forrester calls this form of marketing development “intelligent creativity,” and it involves teams of creators and strategists conceiving, developing, producing, and activating marketing solutions with the use of automation and AI tools.
The implication is a fundamental mindset shift in how creative and content are made, with whom, and with what technology and the results are more well informed, platform-appropriate, and feature measurable solutions.”
What does it mean for the various departments and functions in an agency?
Strategic Planning: It is not enough to be a communication planner. Understanding your audience is not based on running a few qualitative surveys or running a few social listening reports. The department needs a leader who has many specialists as well latest digital tools to do the job. A good example of this is a Connections Strategist who brings together creative ideas, media, channel insights, audience behaviour, and discovery together ( more on it in a future edition)
Creative: That one amazing tagline or a great digital film starring KOLs will not cut it. Sad to say but an Idea-led campaign times are over.
For one to be a great creative needs a grasp of audience behaviour ( which are shifting to digital behaviours), understanding platforms, targeting, and consumer journey are as important as the idea itself. This will give you an idea of the velocity of engagement, reach, and actions. Using the right tools to produce and create content is also extremely important.
The biggest mindset shift a creative team needs to embrace is accepting the audience feedback coming to them in numbers & almost real time, and be willing to operate in an agile way ( your craft = ability to achieve the objective)
Media: Media teams would have the best exposure working with data and performance leveraging state of the platforms and tools (depending on stage of maturity and scale of the agency). An intelligent creative approach bridges the major gap traditionally seen between both functions.
Media teams need to accept that a creative has the power to outperform their media objectives for any given campaign
Technology and tools are evolving as we speak. The onus is on the marketing and advertising teams to leverage them to deliver business results.
Wishing you all a great year ahead!
The views expressed in this article are personal, and not necessarily those of the author’s employer.