Be careful about letting the creative side drive the conversation. It’s easy to get excited about a cool concept, and push to get it out there. But down that road lies cost overruns and weak results. Keep numbers in the back of your head when planning campaigns and you’ll be able to find the right balance between the art and the outcomes.
The creative is what customers remember. But its not what goes in business reporting. If you can’t look at the creative and the elements of campaigns, and see the connection to your brand, audience and goals, then you need to go back to the drawing board.
This is not about being risk averse. It’s about taking the right risks. If you believe the campaign will resonate with the audience and move the numbers that matter, then you should be willing to take the idea forward even when it’s a little out there compared to what you’ve done in the past. But you shouldn’t greenlight something cool just for the sake of cool. It’s got to tie back to the business.
Creative for it’s own sake is the domain of artist. Creative for the sake of business is the domain of advertising and marketing. If you’re an artist, then you can put whatever you want out there. If you’re a marketer, then you need to see numbers behind every story board and ask for clear(ish) goals on every campaign.
Looking at creative from a work perspective.
As a marketing project manager, I don’t always have a say in what concept will go out there. But I try to push for measurement regardless of the medium. When you put numbers to something it becomes translatable to the business world and objectively assessable. I’m generally weary of campaigns that don’t have at least a guesstimate attached for traffic, impressions, etc.
As a marketing consultant, I often have a say in what concept will be used. But here you want to make sure that you don’t weaken the creative by being too focused on the numbers. I usually try to stay quiet and let the idea emerge, then ask about the goals. If an agency or artist can’t give me any thoughts on how it supports the business, then I start trying to build out that side myself. If I can’t find a way to bring measurable goals into the campaign, then it’s not going to happen.
To be fair, it’s often more a question of refining goals than adding them. But you have to tie it back to numbers and make sure they stay attached as the campaign moves forward. If goals aren’t brought into play early and kept in mind, then progress during the campaign and ROI at the end won’t be clear.