Marketing is a collaboration of multiple skillsets and competencies with a common goal of engaging audiences for the long term. Creating effective, high-quality, experience-driven content strategies requires a true team effort. Today, we can find countless job titles and talents in any given marketing department. Broadly speaking, they can be grouped into three categories, which make up the primary colors of digital marketing: the marketer, the IT pro, and the creative.
In my previous post, I talked about the consequences of neglecting the role of the creative. Making creative play second fiddle to data-mining or click-bait strategies is shortsighted, and has been proven to hurt profits in the long run. The creative is as essential to your bottom line as the color blue is to Van Gogh’s Starry Night. But red and yellow are no less essential to that night-sky palette, with its warm orange and deep purple hues.
The point of the metaphor is that the three primary roles of digital marketing are equally important, and increasingly interdependent. Now that you get the picture, the question is: How can your company unite and integrate all three to conceive, execute, and deliver your message to the right people?
I’ve come up with five ways the marketer and the IT pro can blend with the creative to create a varied and vibrant color wheel of capabilities to draw on at any time.
Five Ways to Blend Your Primary Digital Marketing Colors
1. Marketing helps creatives understand the needs of the customer.
Digital marketers can help creatives ground their concepts in a deep understanding of customers’ needs, problems, desires, and aspirations. The creative’s natural ability to empathize and make work that resonates with others is focused and enhanced by the marketer’s data and insight. Plus, digital marketers can ensure that the right creative content reaches the right people at the right time—an invaluable asset to creatives seeking an audience. Meanwhile, creative helps marketing build a more compelling, memorable, and relevant brand for their fans.
2. IT enables creative to execute ideas.
Creatives like to dream big, and sometimes their vision exceeds their abilities. The IT pro has the skills and know-how to help creatives execute their brilliant ideas, whether it’s a video production, a cutting-edge site or app to support great content, more fluid browser integration, or a user experience revamp. The medium is the message, after all, and IT can help creative departments make sure content doesn’t get lost in technological translation.
3. Marketing keeps creative accountable . . .
Creatives can become so consumed by—and attached to—their work that they lose sight of what’s happening in the industry. Marketers keep an eye on the competition, and know exactly how their company is performing. Their attention to data, metrics, and key performance indicators (KPIs) can balance the creative’s sometimes lofty and subjective outlook. And because creativity can’t always be crammed into a predictable schedule, marketing can help out by staying on top of production schedules and prioritizing tasks.
4. . . . while creative helps marketing innovate.
Accountability goes both ways. Marketers may become so consumed by—and attached to—their milestones and schedules that they lose sight of what matters: connecting with customers. Creatives have this audience in mind, and are driven to speak to people through their work. Sometimes priorities need to be rearranged and metrics reexamined in light of the creative question: What will leave the greatest impact on the viewer?
5. IT equips marketing and creative with research.
The typical IT pro is ahead of the curve. IT pros always get their hands on the most advanced gadgets and technology as soon as they hit the market. Maybe they were an early Google Glass adopter, or built their own DIY supercomputer in their spare time. Technologists know all the available, up-to-the-minute technological options and capabilities, and can tell creatives exactly what to use to make their latest, greatest idea a reality. IT pros work on the frontlines so when marketing and creative are ready to move, the implementation strategies and methods are already in place.
ROI of Collaboration
Kevin Burke, chief marketing officer at Visa, explains the company’s perspective on creativity:
“Creativity is a mindset that we look to infuse across everything we do. It starts with marketers who are passionate about creativity and ‘the work.’ We find that the best way to build that culture is to have a team of people with diverse backgrounds from leading brands, agencies, consultancies and technology companies from around the world.”
Their active attention to achieving an effective “blend” pays off in innovative campaigns and experience-centric apps.
ROI is measured in more than sales conversions; it is also the sum of your content’s reach and engagement. When IT, marketing, and creative collaborate, they can create original, accessible, emotionally resonant, and highly shareable work. And in today’s digital landscape, this level of customer engagement is what it takes to reach your business objectives for the long term.