Has Creativity Died? A Look into Creativity in Marketing Today

By Charlotte Mullane

Working in the media industry, it can be difficult to always continue to be creative, especially in the ways the field has been shifting. It is simply in the nature of careers involving creativity that at times we can experience a creative block, burn out, or find ourselves in a dreary rhythm. Working in the current marketing landscape, how has creativity changed in the industry, and how can we take advantage of these changes and continue to be inspired? 

How has creativity changed in the industry?

In the booming age of technology and social media, the industry has become an undoubtedly saturated and competitive market, where there is an increasing concern for analytics and numbers. Although some argue this extreme focus towards data is destroying creativity, I would argue it has simply altered creativity in the industry. For example, while the oversaturation of the market has created ‘issues’ in standing out, marketing professionals must simply remain creative in the ways they overcome such changes. Historically, it’s said that the greater amount of content produced on a particular topic, the less engagement it receives. As an example, Buffer found that posting less on facebook increased their social media reach and engagement by 330%. Individuals must simply be creative in both the content they produce and the relationship between quality and quantity to remain successful.

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Furthermore, we are seeing new ways of creativity, such as the use of targeted advertising in conjunction with website analytics. Together, these components can be used to create personalised messages that can establish the illusion of a personal connection. However, while it can be argued that social media has allowed for greater creativity, this is not always the case. For example, some argue that marketing was once centered around understanding behavioural analysis, socio-economic drivers, and physiological reactions to produce imaginative campaigns, however, the internet has in a sense altered this core. Where before marketing was dominated by big companies, the internet has allowed for anyone to have the ability to create and market a product. The argument here being that well thought out marketing strategies, imaginative ad campaigns, and impressive visuals have been pushed aside in favour of technical knowledge. While this may be true, this alteration does not necessarily equal a loss of creativity in the industry. Simply, marketing must find new ways of becoming imaginative, or adapting old aspects to fit the altered industry. 

How can we remain creative?

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Look beyond your team

Marketing has become vastly complex and when discussing creativity in the industry, the topic spans past simply images and text that go into advertising campaigns. The fragmented media landscape means that marketers must look further than paid media to be subjectively successful. Looking at creativity from an innovation standpoint, people can be the new channel of reaching such goals. Companies can use employees, associates, and customers as additions to the marketing team. For example, encouraging customers to post on social media using a specific hashtag to strengthen awareness. Furthermore, using employees as a way to build a particular reputation through educating them on the company’s story, background and culture and encouraging them to vocalise it. 

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Focus on personal connection 

Similarly, customers are creators, not just consumers. Working with customers from the very start can use the affordances of social media to its full potential. Becoming more personal and developing a connection with consumers in understanding and identifying them can promote creative ideas that are the most relevant and beneficial. For example, immersing in the customers world to build a strong idea of the consumer is a way to help strengthen this personal connection. Social media has allowed for a space where consumers can get to know a company and decide where their trust lies. Consequently, forming a connection and working towards building trust is important. Here, there is a clear space for creativity in how this connection can be formed and maintained.

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Use statistics creatively 

Bringing creativity to statistics is furthermore, a way into creativity in innovation. Although it is often said that analytics and numbers suppress creativity, it can also be used in imaginative ways as a drive towards improvement. In the past, marketers set goals and plans in place in advance that were intended to be carried out. Now however, we are able to directly see what works and what doesn’t through engagement. As a result, goals and plans are constantly changing to fit into the updating market and product. Furthermore, data can be seen as an opportunity, not a limitation. It provides ideas and feedback to critique our work. Finding ways to take advantage of the opportunities data can bring, such as tracking data as a team to hold each other accountable in achieving goals and re-establishing strategies is a completely new way of creativity. 

Although the current marketing landscape has been completely shifted in recent years, this does not equate to the loss of creativity. Marketing professionals should simply be adapting to new formats or ditching formats altogether to think creatively in using the new landscape to its full potential. Marketing professionals today should be thinking innovatively – looking beyond their team, focusing on personal connection and using data in imaginative ways to continue to be creative.   

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