Creative Marketing: What Does That Even Mean?

February 28, 2020
5 min read

Let’s be clear…

Ask 10 people what creative marketing means and you’ll get ten different answers.

The truth is, creativity is subjective. Different businesses and their marketing strategies will require different types of creativity and pizzazz.

But… don’t be discouraged.  

There are some KEY principles behind every memorable piece of marketing. Lucky for you, we’re going to share them right now!

Collection of different things including a camera, glasses, pen and sign that says CREATOR

Did We Make You Look?

There are a million-and-one things vying for our attention at any given moment. So it takes something truly creative to make us stop and pay attention.

Think about the ads that make you stop scrolling on Instagram? What was it about them that demanded your attention? What was it that made you scroll back up and do a double-take? What was the element that reeled you in?

  • Hootsuite estimates that the average consumer is seeing upwards of 5,000 advertisements a day.

If we stopped and took note of every single ad we were served, there’d simply be no time to do anything else!

The point is…

If you’re creative doesn’t stand-out in a world of noise, you’ve lost the race before you’ve even begun.

Creativity is something that makes you pause, think, and consume the message. It demands your attention. It makes your head turn, despite all the other things flashing, buzzing and rattling around you.

Creative marketing, first-and-foremost, makes you LOOK. 

Man in brown shows standing in a pile of confetti

People Can Smell a Fraud

'Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.' — Dr. Seuss

Marketing campaigns that yield the best results always come from brands that have a strong sense of identity.

  • Who are you?
  • What makes you different than your competitors?
  • What motivates you?

More importantly, what motivates your customers?

blonde girl in yellow overalls standing in a street

A brand that strongly represents their core values and has an unwavering sense of identity will be able to deliver a message that resonates.

So… that gets us to our second point.

Creative marketing resonates with people — it produces an emotional reaction that is both appealing and comforting. Or, in other words, it’s marketing that makes you say '“hell yeah!”

Also Read: The Importance of Brand Authenticity

laptop on desk

The Numbers

  • According to Hubspot, out of 1,400 advertising campaigns, the ones with strictly emotional content performed about twice as well (31% vs. 16%) as those with only analytical content.


So what does this all mean?

For starters, compelling advertisements almost always have an emotional element that their audience can resonate with.

Whether it’s a cute dog riding a skateboard or an introspective video from a customer whose life has been changed by your product; people love a heartfelt message.

Beware, though: Consumers are savvy purveyors of media. They can smell inauthenticity a mile away. If you’re going to try and tug on the heartstrings, you better make sure it’s done right.

That’s why having a strong sense of brand awareness and identity is key when it comes to creating marketing that resonates with people.

Using your core values to influence your campaigns and marketing decisions will naturally give your content the creative edge you need.

To girls talking at a table with ipads

Customer Collaboration

The first thing any marketer worth his-or-her salt will tell you is, it’s absolutely critical you understand who your customer is. That means knowing what their needs are, what motivates them, and what engages them.

This understanding needs to go beyond just demographics, though. Sure, these days it’s pretty easy to break down your customer base. Using data-points and analytics, you can quickly discern who is buying your products.

Going beyond the surface is the key to finding creative gold.

A Real Life Example

Intuit Inc. is an American financial software company that develops and sells programs for small businesses, accountants, etc.

Ever heard of TurboTax? Yeah… that’s those guys.

Intuit is renowned for their customer-centric marketing initiatives, especially when it comes to developing strategies based on real-life insights from their users.

Intuit logo

For example, Intuit’s marketing team spends hundreds of hours with self-employed people who frequently use their products.  

By traveling to their work-spaces, immersing themselves in the day-to-day lives of their customers, they’ve been able to capture hundreds of insights that they’ve turned into successful marketing initiatives.

Seeing the challenges their customers face helped their marketing team create real solutions. It also helped their team deliver their ideas in a way that resonated (there’s that word again) with their customers.

In fact, Intuit took what they learned and developed a new feature within their app that combines location data, Google maps and calendar appointments to track a client’s fuel mileage

Year-end taxes just got a hell of a lot easier.

The point?

Communicate with your customers directly, and as often as you can. Knowing their strengths and weakness and what they need will help you deliver effective messages that address their needs in a real way.

Can I Be Creative?

3 lightbulbs in different colours

Listen, there’s a lot of do’s and don’ts on creative marketing out there. Every marketing agency will tell you they have the secret (shhhhhhh) to unlocking your creative potential.

The thing is, we all have the potential to create something truly unique. Applying some basic principles to any marketing campaign will naturally foster that creativity.

Trust us, you’d be surprised at how fast the ideas start flowing.

So, remember…

Good, creative marketing makes people pay attention. It resonates with their values. It’s authentic. And, perhaps most importantly, it speaks directly to their needs.

If you want your marketing to be creative, you need make sure your ideas are checking off all these boxes. Even the wackiest campaigns reap success when they’re fueled by a customer-centric, authentic strategy.

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