"Hey, who's the creative guy around here?" Question a lot of creative guys (and gals) about the work they did for you and you'll probably hear a reply similar to this. They are basically telling you that they are blessed with creative talent (probably true) and that used sufficiently and given free rein, those talents can sell anything to anyone (most definitely false).
Some, thankfully not all, Creatives go apoplectic when it is suggested that they stifle their creativity so it fits within the confines and goals of a marketing formula. They cannot accept that the successful copywriters and artists who came before them worked with a formula. Sometimes the formula was overtly stated, sometimes the discipline came from an innate sense of what works.
For too many these days "what works" takes a backseat to "What will win me an award"? Try to persuade them of the good sense of your position in favor of controlling creativity and they'll fight you hammer and tong no matter how many truths you tell them. Perhaps they can't "handle the truth".
Well, I have some truths to tell you and I'm betting that you, as serious marketing strategists, can handle it. Who knows, you might even agree with me.
There is a need for marketing and advertising rooted in methods or formulas proven to work. There are, for instance, an infinite number of ways you can arrange words and images on a page. Some make it easy to read and understand your message, while others place obstacles in the way of the readers, making them lose the desire to continue...thus a lost opportunity. Here now, the truths.
- Marketing is more science than art.
- Working within a sound formula will produce winning marketing far more often than relying on unfettered creativity and gut feelings.
- Very creative people gravitate to marketing and Advertising.
- Often, creative people aren't very disciplined.
- Undisciplined creativity can leave your marketing "...sliding on the slippery surface of irrelevant brilliance." (Frank Ogilvy)
- Rather than being the driver of success, creativity often gets in the way of the marketing message, limiting success.
- How creative you can be is often directly related to the amount of money you have to spend.
These seven statements point out the need for having a marketing formula you can go by. As a copywriter, I consider myself to be a creative person. I choose, however, to control my creativity so there's a greater chance of it being effective. A formula (or method, or system) is simply a guide used to make sure your marketing piece includes all the elements that will work to make it successful. As a copywriter and brand strategist, I designed such a marketing system - The 5 Steps To Greatness - in 2005, and have been using it successfully ever since. You can see the basics of this system here.