The Changing Landscape of Creativity in Business: Key Takeaways from Survey

It’s a fact: as the demand for compelling, stand-out content accelerates, creatives and marketers are working together more now than they ever have before. That’s why one of the findings in our new “State of Creativity in Business” survey stood out to me. We checked in with 600 creatives and marketers in the U.S. and found that the vast majority of them have good or excellent relationships with each other—but they still need more alignment on their actual work. Marketers report being far more focused on data than creatives. Marketers are also going outside of their creative departments to get creative assets.

It’s interesting if you consider how the relationship between creatives and marketers has evolved. Their departments always needed to collaborate, but the pace used to be different. Remember static, paper brochures with a long shelf life? Fast forward, and we all find ourselves pushing the boundaries to create a constant stream of new, personalized digital experiences for customers—which means our content changes all the time, and it has to be designed for multiple channels and audiences.

This explosion of design and content production work within global brands and agencies was apparent in our survey: Nearly two-thirds of creatives in our survey say they create more content now than they did five years ago.

The result? Marketing and design have become two peas in the same fast-moving pod – and they are scaling their design and content needs along multiple vectors. Nineteen percent of global brands are building out more in-house creative agencies and 47 percent are hiring more creatives in house. At the same time, brands are also still outsourcing, with more than half of marketers (51 percent) going outside the creative department for their content needs.

Marketers and Creatives—On a Mission to Personalize

Among the marketers and creatives we surveyed, the overwhelming majority (70 percent) said it’s important to personalize content and design across a customer’s journey. But this was surprising: only a little more than quarter of them (28 percent) think their company does an excellent job of personalizing content.

Creatives are expanding their workflows to meet these higher expectations, which can often lead to complexity. In fact, 69 percent of creatives report using more and different tools than they did five years ago and 37 percent say their workflows have gotten more complex. And, of course, both groups are producing more content than ever before, so the need for more seamless workflows between the two is essential.

The good news is that new platforms are making it easier than ever to analyze and use data to build customer experiences. At Adobe, we have Adobe Sensei, which is our artificial intelligence/machine learning framework and set of intelligent services built into the Adobe Cloud Platform. Adobe Sensei leverages Adobe’s massive volume of content and data assets, as well as its deep domain expertise in the creative, marketing and document segments to dramatically improve the design and delivery of digital experiences. As more marketers and designers embrace these tools, I think they’ll be able to build their capabilities to personalize. 

Creatives and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

We also asked creatives for their take on how automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will impact their futures. The numbers show that more than half (55 percent) of creative practitioners are optimistic about AI and don’t foresee automation taking over their job responsibilities in the next ten years.

The latest innovations in AI are focused on removing barriers and eliminating tedious, repetitive tasks so designers have more time to do the more impactful, creative aspects of their jobs. In fact, of creatives who told us that their workflows have gotten simpler over the last five years, 17 percent attribute the change to automation or artificial intelligence. Adobe Sensei’s capabilities in Creative Cloud automate mundane tasks, allowing creatives to spend more time on inspiration and design. For example, Adobe Stock Visual Search allows you to “find images like this” by simply dragging any still image file to your browser, and find the perfect image with the content, look and feel you need. 

It’s only the beginning for AI in the creative industry. In fact, 69 percent of creatives see their use of automation technologies like AI and machine learning increasing over the next five years. At Adobe, we believe AI will be another tool that creatives and marketers turn to for content creation and experiences they need at scale.

The Future of Experiences

For creatives and marketers, there’s still work to do to manage workflows and collaboration, and to make the most of data for personalization. But technology is making huge strides to help make all of this easier. Read more on how marketers and designers can team up to build the kinds of deeply personalized experiences that delight customers.

Ashley Still, Vice President, Creative Cloud Enterprise

As Vice President, Creative Cloud Enterprise, Ashley Still leads product, marketing and business development for Adobe’s flagship offering for enterprise customers. Creative Cloud for enterprise delivers an integrated content creation, collaboration and publishing solution that securely enables brands to create engaging visual and interactive experiences for their customers everywhere. Prior to her current role, Ashley was Senior Director of Product & Marketing for Adobe Primetime, an Internet television platform used by Comcast, Turner, NBC Sports and other global media companies to deliver TV content and dynamic advertising to any Internet device. Under Ashley’s leadership, Adobe Primetime won an Emmy Award for the Adobe Pass TV-Everywhere service. Ashley joined Adobe in 2004 and held product management positions for Adobe Photoshop prior to joining the Primetime team. She holds a BA from Yale and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Ashley Still, Vice President, Creative Cloud Enterprise