Marketing = Strategy + Creative

I’m no mathematician, but this is an equation I’m pretty confident in.

But too many marketers pick one camp and discount the other. How many brainstorming sessions are packed with wonderful, innovative ideas that have no goal or specific audience in mind? How many marketing executives get so wrapped up in their analyses, plans, and budgets that they forget to check their gut and nurture big, breakthrough concepts?

Strategy without creative is like a carefully-planned road trip down a straight highway in the middle of nowhere. No fun. No impact. Nothing to remember.

On the other hand, creative that’s void of strategy is about as effective as a carnival floating in the middle of the Pacific. You can build all the best rides on earth, but nobody’s coming.

In my experience, this latter misstep is very common in small businesses. We decide it’s time to build or update a website, for example. So we find a little agency or a freelance designer/developer and say go. A year later (yes, it takes a long time to get where you’re going when you don’t have clear direction), we have a website that’s, well, just okay. It’s hard to admit after all we’ve invested, but it lacks the punch we dreamt of at the outset. (Hint: Strategy + Creative [also] = Punch.)

If you’ve met me, you may have noticed that I like to wear a compass instead of a watch. When people ask why, I tell them that I’d rather know what direction I’m headed than how fast I’m moving. It’s a philosophy that drives my marketing-strategy work as well: harness all that creative juice in a clear and powerful direction, and you’ll be amazed at how much faster your goals start to materialize.

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