How to Handle Marketing Creative

How to Handle Marketing Creative

Take a moment to think about the countless media messages that an average person receives in a single day. Those media messages come from a multitude of sources: TV, Radio, OTT, social media, text messages, and just plain old browsing the internet. Media messages bombard our target audience members every day. The goal of every marketer, then, is to pierce through that noise as the one brilliant promotion that stays on top of the mind.

That scenario begs the question: how do marketers accomplish such a feat? The answer is an advert must have better creative than the competition in order to stand out. Great creative means your ad campaign stands out, is memorable, elevates brand recognition, improves sales, and results in better ROI.

Ordinarily, what passes for creative starts with a limited conversation by the design team. That brainstorming process, in most instances, is short. After brainstorming ends, the marketing team then focuses its full attention on substantiating the marketing creative. That scheme is inverted and creates an obstacle to great creative.

The reality is that in order to generate an impressive creative, the marketing team must spend 80% of the project time planning, 10% of project time creating, and then the remaining 20% of the project time revising ideas that the design team contributed.

The savvy marketer asks and answers questions about each customer before it is even possible to develop a great marketing creative. The questions revolve around the target audience, the project’s goals, and how creative differs between the selected marketing channels.

Let’s take those one at a time.

Who Is the Targeted Audience?

At a minimum, the successful ad agency understands who the ad is meant to reach. In other words, mission-critical is to figure out who the target audience is. Remember, developing the optimum ad requires the creative team to focus the ad’s appeal to the intended targeted audience, not to defend the good feelings emanating from the ad development team. Avoid the following:

  • information overload;
  • overly dramatic/emotional appeals;
  • over-use of same appeals; and
  • too many voices in the creative mix.

Specify a clear call-to-action to your target audience.

What Are Your Goals?

The development team must select goals that further the focus on the targeted audience. A very important task in the planning phase is to set goals. Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals leads to successful creative. The acronym S.M.A.R.T. stands for goals that are:

  • Specific — in practical terms, that means goals that are clear and well-defined.
  • Measurable — that means accurate when expressing amounts and setting performance dates.
  • Actionable — that means setting achievable goals within set deadlines.
  • Relevant — so important to keep goals closely connected to the ad’s purposes.
  • Time-Bound — set a reasonable and realistic deadline.

The next step is to determine the measures or metrics that you will derive and analyze during the campaign.

The following show several metrics that give you a good picture of how the ad campaign is doing:

  • ROI – sales revenue for every ad dollar spent.
  • Cost per lead – number of leads compared to ad dollars spent.
  • Cost per sale – number of sales compared to ad dollars spent.
  • Conversion rate – comparison of leads to sales.
  • Brand awareness – direct traffic to your website is a good measure of brand awareness.
  • Customer engagement – attendance at community events, social media interactions, website traffic, reading blogs, writing reviews.

Develop Creative That Matches Selected Marketing Channels

In order to develop efficacious creative, the marketing team must modify the work product to reflect the specifics of the intended marketing channel. For example, marketing channels may differ by the channel users’ age, technical savvy, education, etc.

Use professionals to implement the team’s work product. The last thing you want or need is an amateurish-finished product that will reduce ROI.

Caveat: Skimping on the development costs is never a good investment.


It is important to limit the number of voices on the brainstorm team. Limit the brainstorming team to knowledgeable people, including the client’s media representative. Just as important, however, is the solicitation for as many ideas from the brainstorming team as possible. Underscore that no idea is unintelligent because, at this juncture, the objective is quantity above quality. After the brainstorm session is finished, the team can decide which ideas were the best and which ones to use in the ad campaign.

Revise Creative

Once the brainstorming and development work concludes, then the really hard work begins. Revising the creative does not mean correcting types and format (although those are critically important, too). Revising the creative means working with marketing professionals to ensure that the creative:

  • Fit your company’s brand.
  • Best communicate the ideas to the intended target audience.
  • Do not contradict other marketing messages.

Food for Thought

Many marketers spend too much time on brainstorming or implementing the creative itself and not enough time planning and researching. Without planning, marketing creative can win awards but will not accomplish the most important function: bringing in new leads and promoting your company’s brand.

If you are interested in learning more about developing great marketing creative, we invite you to download our e-book entitled “The Business Guide to Marketing Creative for Optimal results.”

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