What Is More Important in Marketing: Advertising Strategy or Creativity?
For marketing experts and business owners alike, one question is an age-old debate: What matters more in advertising, strategy or creativity?
Some marketing agencies will tell you that true creativity is the only way to cut through the noise and make your message heard. Others will offer that strategy will make all the difference in the success or failure of your ad campaign; placement, outreach and planning are tools in their toolbox.
At InnoVision, we see things differently. We believe that creativity and strategy are two sides of the same coin, and our experience lets us see strategy and creativity as two parts of a whole that will lead to your business’ best outcomes.
What’s the Difference?
In essence, strategy is your overall plan. Many questions have to be answered. Are you interested in growing your brand? Are there certain products that you want to move more of? Are you interested in outreach towards an untapped demographic that may benefit from your product or services? Identifying your goals is an important part of your overall strategic plan.
You’ll also want to think about your consumer base, their age and income demographics, and how they access information. A good strategy should meet your audience where they are and speak to them in a language they understand. Strategies can be broad (reach more customers) or in-depth (optimize the click-through-rate of my brand’s landing page). In either case, strategy is problem-solving and it’s true what they say; some of the best problem-solvers are creative thinkers.
Creativity is typically understood as the generation of new ideas or innovative concepts. These may be anything from new methods of outreach to eye-catching graphic design or even new partnerships that could help boost your brand. Importantly, creativity can drive a multitude of successful strategies. True creativity can help create and maintain customer loyalty. It can devise an artful message that resonates deeply with your audience. It can even spark, in your patrons, a feeling of intimacy, of feeling “seen”. Creative professionals are experts at communication.
Why You Need Both
Close your eyes and imagine the most ingenious advertisement you’ve ever seen. It’s artful, it’s clever, and it makes you want whatever it’s selling right now. How are you imagining that ad? Is it on a billboard? On the television? Do you envision seeing it on social media? Whatever you’ve imagined—there’s a strategy behind it. The truth is that, no matter how inventive the ad campaign may be, if it’s not seen by your target demographic, it might as well not exist.
This is true in reverse as well. Your advertising agency may have run the numbers. They may know exactly how to target your customers, how many times per day to pop up, and which platforms they use the most. In this hypothetical case, your ad will be seen.
However, if it’s lackluster or a cookie-cutter version of the same old thing, getting eyes on the ad won’t help you in the least. Those eyes will glaze over with boredom and you’ll have wasted that moment with your audience (not to mention your ad dollars). This goes double for an ad that hasn’t been thought through. In that case, you could inadvertently end up sending out a jarring message to your customers, one that’s misunderstood or even one that offends.
To make sense of this conflict, you need to see strategy and creativity not only as intertwined but as utterly dependent on one another. Strategy without creativity is like a beautifully made, perfectly tuned instrument with no one to play it.
How to Create the Perfect Creative-Strategic Balance
The start of any good business strategy is pinpointing your goals. Aiming your ad team’s creativity at a specific goal can bring about tremendous innovation. For example, let’s say that your brand wants to target a demographic that includes a wide variety of age groups.
We know from years of experience that a customer’s age matters a lot to a business’s strategy. Social media, print, television, radio, and email advertising are all strategies likely to hit with some generations and not at all with others. Once you’ve established reaching a wide variety of age groups as your goal, your team can focus their creative energy.
That energy could lead to ideas you’d never considered before. It could lead to an exclusive sub-brand for younger consumers, a staged rollout to see which group is most receptive to your message, or anything that might provide an inventive solution to your problem.
Once you’ve figured out your goals, you’ll also want an ad team that can bring your campaign to life with artful and unique graphic design. Design is the art of communication and a key component of the creativity you’ll need in order to make your strategy worthwhile. That’s why it’s smart to hire an advertising agency that’s full service. When an agency is made up of professionals who are experts in graphic design, video production, placement, and research, you can be sure that you’re getting a team that understands the link between strategy and creativity.
You’ll want to combine your strategic message with art that gets that message across clearly and meaningfully to your customers. Constructing a visual that tells a story and also creates a call to action requires creative expertise. You may have less than a second to get your story across. A team whose strategists and creative artists work together can help align the medium and the message to make something truly compelling.
At InnoVision, we understand the interplay between creativity and strategy. That’s why we offer in-house services that can accommodate both. Our graphic design team are experts in visual communication. Our other capabilities speak to our strategic expertise as well. If you have any questions about how to integrate a creative strategy into your business’ advertising outreach, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our door is always open!