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Entries Tagged as 'Drew McLellan'

Is creativity bad for marketing?

April 8th, 2014 · Innovation & Creativity

funny eggs with facial expression: scared screaming and being terrified.As a writer just typing the question – is creativity bad for marketing – hurts a little.

Advertising and marketing people pride themselves on their creativity. After all, it’s one of the lures of the profession for most of us.

But does it serve our businesses and our business goals?

On the surface, it’s easy to argue that creativity is essential to good advertising and marketing. Whether it’s strategic nuances and insights, being innovative in your brand and how you express it, or marketing materials that capture the audience’s attention and imagination – all of those are built on a foundation of creative thinking.

But I’ve been in some situations recently where it was evident that the long-term objectives were not being well served by an infusion of creativity. Then, sadly the answer is yes…. creativity can be bad for marketing.

So let’s look at how the very thing we work so hard to capture can also be a detriment.

Too many ideas: This can be a killer. When a team is on fire with great ideas and falls in love with them all, the end result can be a mess. Sometimes the team tries to pack in all the ideas so rather than building a message hierarchy where you lead with your key message and then support that message — you get five pounds of ideas shoved into a one pound bag. That results in a lot of superficial messaging rather than a well-developed story with depth and relevance.

The other possible outcome of too many ideas is that the team decides to use them all sequentially. That typically means that no one idea is left in place long enough to really take root. Remember, about the time that we as the creators are getting sick of the ad/brochure/tagline etc. is about the same time the intended audience is just noticing the communication. If you pull the plug too soon, you lose all momentum and have to start all over.

Unbridled creativity: As the brainstorming pendulum swings, it often goes to an extreme that’s beyond the audience’s sensibilities. Sometimes a team can get so enamored with being provocative or wildly creative that they forget who their audience is. We’ve all seen ads that were very outlandish and got a lot of attention but in the end, were too far over the top and the company ended up issuing an apology or retracting the ad.

Marketing has a very simple purpose – to sell something. It might be selling a product, or an ideal or a candidate or a charity’s cause. But it does not exist to entertain, provoke a reaction or win awards. If it sells AND entertains, all the better. But it needs to do its job. Which means the audience’s perspective must always be front and center.

Cart before the horse creativity: Believe it or not, good creativity is actually the outcome of a very disciplined process, at least in marketing. To truly be creative in a way that nets the desired results, you have to do your homework before you release the creative juices. Until you define the goals, identify and get to know your audience and understand your unique position in the marketplace – you hold your creativity in place.

When you unleash it too soon, you may come up with the most compelling marketing tools that drive the audience to action, but they might be the wrong audience, might be taking the wrong action or might play to one of your competitor’s strengths.

Like most things, creativity isn’t good or bad, at least not in the world of marketing. It’s how we use it that makes it either a huge asset or a hindrance to us achieving our ultimate marketing goals.

 

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What does this pricing strategy say to you?

September 9th, 2013 · Marketing, Strategy

PriceHow thoughtful are you about your company’s pricing strategy? Let me give you an example.

We use an on-line vendor to provide extranet services for our clients.  We’ve been with them for over five years.  We recently discovered a better, cheaper solution.  It wasn’t the cheaper that sold us.  It was the ease of use for our clients.

But cheaper doesn’t hurt.  And this was cheaper by a couple hundred dollars a month.

When I contacted the old vendor to cancel our service, guess what their immediate response was.

“We can match their price.”

What?  So you’ve been overcharging me for years?  Or you magically just had a price reduction to the very dollar amount of my new vendor and you were about to call and tell me about it?

Talk about leaving a bad taste in my mouth.

Dropping your price to keep a customer is never a good strategy.  It can only make you and the client both feel taken advantage of and in the end, no one wins.

Your pricing strategy is one of the key components of your marketing message.  It speaks about things far beyond your cost.  It communicates value, customer attentiveness and how you view the relationship, both short and long term.  It’s not something you should just stumble into.  And it’s not something you should damage by mishandling a situation, like our old vendor did.

There’s an interesting couple articles over at Marketing Tips from the Trenches about how to think through a pricing strategy and how to test it.  Worth a read.

 

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Guilty of the frantic scramble in your marketing?

June 5th, 2013 · Marketing, Strategy · 8 Comments

I grew up in Minnesota in the 70s and I love football which meant that back when I was a kid, my world revolved around the Minnesota Vikings and our incredible quarterback, Fran Tarkenton. At the time of his retirement, Fran owned EVERY major quarterback record out there. Fran was known as The Scrambler because [Read more...]

Video can make a prospect’s concerns go away

October 8th, 2012 · Media, Psychology, Sales · 5 Comments

Video is a very useful medium that most companies underuse. But when they are used…they’re typically used to sell or teach.  All of that is well and good. But I think you might be missing the boat on an opportunity to make your prospects concerns go away. I’m in Arizona for 10 days — a [Read more...]

Content that your audience loves

September 8th, 2012 · Content Marketing, Copywriting · 5 Comments

I saw this on Scott Monty’s Facebook status…and loved it.  I couldn’t track down the creator but if I do, I’ll update the post. Just wanted to give you something to chew on over the weekend. McLellan Marketing Group is an advertising | marketing agency based in Des Moines, IA, and serving clients all over [Read more...]

Age of Conversation 4 — want to be one of our authors?

June 28th, 2012 · Books, Collaborations, Community, Social Media · 5 Comments

We know… it’s crazy. But Gavin and I are ready to do it again. This time, we’d like Age of Conversation to take on a much more personal tone… how is social media impacting you, your work, your family and your view on life? Your chapter might be as elaborate as a real case study [Read more...]

5 questions to define your 2012 game plan

December 30th, 2011 · Business Owner/Leader Stuff, Strategy · 6 Comments

Define your 2012 game plan Over the past month, I’ve been posing what I hope have been some head scratching, thought provoking questions to help you get ready for 2012. If you can answer these five questions — I think you’re going to have a solid foundation for your marketing efforts moving forward. In case [Read more...]

Radio show on book crowdsourcing

July 5th, 2011 · Books, Social Media, Strategy · 5 Comments

  …media coverage for Age #1 One of the best benefits of being a part of the Age of Conversation series is that I’ve met a lot of really smart, generous people who do good work and celebrate others’ good work. That’s how I had the good fortune of being a guest on the US [Read more...]

Going old school – Yahoo Groups

April 2nd, 2011 · Collaborations, Web/Tech · 13 Comments

I know that Facebook‘s groups are the rage and I think it’s a dandy tool.  But what if you have a group of people that aren’t heavy Facebook users? For many years, I’ve used Yahoo Groups whenever I was part of a small group that needed to stay in touch, share files/photos, and by using [Read more...]

Direct mail marketing do’s and don’ts

March 7th, 2011 · Marketing · 9 Comments

I’ve always been a fan of direct mail, especially 3-D direct mail.  It’s pretty tough for someone to ignore a package addressed to them.  Assuming you’re mailing to the right audience — it can be very effective. I get a fair amount of 3-D direct mail related to the blog and my agency McLellan Marketing [Read more...]