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Creativity demands courage

By David Williams

Did you hear the one about the marketing department that took the predictable path and discovered unprecedented success?

Me neither.

But first things first. Most marketers understand that before you can craft your message, hash out tactics and choose which channels to use, you must know your audience.

Creativity-Demands-CourageFrom demographics pulled from hard data to archetypes constructed from anecdotal evidence, marketers have plenty of tools at their disposal to define primary and secondary audiences — to illustrate the ideal customer or portray the best prospect.

When approached scientifically, understanding your audience is foolproof. Or is it?

In an earlier post, “When marketing becomes a laughing matter,” I made the case for injecting marketing messaging and tactics with humor, despite the fact that many business-to-business marketers mistakenly insist that business owners, senior leadership and other high-level executives want ultra-serious and sterile communications that convey the facts in a straightforward manner.

Important people, apparently, are just too busy for fun.

But does anyone really want boring?

I’m not suggesting every e-blast, direct-mail piece and advertisement should send CEOs to their knees in fits of laughter. While humor is a very useful tool for connecting with an audience, not every situation calls for it. And yet, humor is a fitting example for the bigger-picture problem we sometimes see in the marketing field: Relatively few companies are willing to take chances.

During meetings with clients and prospective clients, we sometimes get questions about trends and “the next big thing” in web development, apps and marketing communications. No company wants to play catch-up with the competition, but unless you’re the first to try something, you’ll never be in the lead.

Perhaps it’s the nature of creative agencies to want to push the envelope. After all, we went into this business because we have a surplus of ideas, a knack for innovation, and the drive to harness our expertise in creative and strategic ways.

A couple of years ago, in a post titled “Secret is out: We want to blow your mind,” I outlined the ideal arrangement between agency and client — one in which both parties are on the same page with how outside-of-the-box a project should be. If either organization is too timid, you tend to end up with something adequate at best, ignorable at worst.

Sometimes creativity requires a “Did they really say that?” headline, a salacious innuendo, or an over-the-top stunt to turn heads and open wallets. But creativity can also be an unexpected delivery method or a (dare I say “fun”?) video or activity that elevates brand awareness to the level of brand loyalty.

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten. That’s good news if you’re satisfied with the effects of your traditional marketing efforts, bad news if you or your boss wants better results.

BrownBoots Interactive thrives on projects that give us an opportunity to tap into clients’ understanding of their industries and customers and then work together to find imaginative methods to get noticed and achieve goals. (And, yes, if we’re asked to stay in the lines or rein it in, we’ll produce the best product possible within those limitations.)

Did you hear the one about the marketing department that took a risk, treated members of their target audience like people and made the competition jealous by earning unprecedented success?

You will.

Do you want to augment your marketing plan with the collective creativity of BrownBoots Interactive? Call 920-906-9175.

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