Making marketing more measurable has been a boon for the role of marketers in a business—but does it come at the cost of sacrificing creative work? Read on.

Hey-Ho, Where Did All the Creative Go?

Thu Apr 5, 2018

Are you getting lost in the science of marketing?

As the holder of a degree in economics I love measurement. The advances in the science of marketing have helped marketing earn a seat at the boardroom table.

We can see who, what, where and even for how long visitors engaged with our content. We can augment data captured from website visits to align our audience with the most well matched buyer’s journey. We can even tell what likely sparked the buyer’s initial touch point with our website. 

Marketing is more measurable today then ever before, could that be a constraint?

With all of our focus on the science of marketing many become almost apologetic for our creative efforts.  I’ve seen marketers ask their agency to “hide creative” under the guise of a media buy. I’ve even watched marketers execute complex email nurture programs without a designer.   

Therein lies the risk. In our quest for science we’re teetering on forgetting how humans make decisions. As renowned researcher and author Malcolm Gladwell writes in Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, “Truly successful decision making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking.”

In fact most people make an emotional decision and then look for evidence to support that decision.

In the world of many choices we need to make not just logical connections to our audience, but emotional ones too. And we need to give our creative teams leeway to operate within the confines of the channel but not handcuff their ability to innovate. When we give creative its equal weight the results increase business success.

But don’t take my word for it! Adobe commissioned Forrester Research to dig into this issue of creativity and they found some pretty amazing correlations betweencreativity and market leadership.

“Creative companies are 50 percent more likely to report a commanding market leadership position over competitors.” 

David Wadhwani, senior vice president, Digital Media at Adobe

With this backdrop here are three ways to help your organization find a healthy balance of science and creative.

  1. Test, test, test – not just your conversion metrics but also your emotional response rates.  Ask test audiences how specific images, layouts and words make them feel, not just will it make them click.  
  2. Build personality based buyer personas – Good personas should do more than inform the stages of the buying process, they should inspire your creative team to align content delivery to personality attributes and preferences.
  3. Let go of your preconceptions – Embracing your creative side does not mean you have to work with a clean slate. Having constraints provide valuable guidelines in the creative process, just don’t short change your brainstorming processes by limiting your thinking.


Samantha Stone
Samantha Stone
Marketing Advisory Network

Samantha is a fast growth, B2B marketing junkie, mother of four high energy boys and wannabe gourmet chef. Throughout her career she has launched go-to-market initiatives and lead marketing strategies for award-winning, high growth technology companies including Netezza, SAP, Ascential Software and Powersoft. In 2012 she founded The Marketing Advisory Network to help enterprises unleash the possible within their organizations. You can read more about her marketing philosophy and get practical advice by visiting her blog.