“Leading brands and agencies have known for many years that more creative work delivers better results than ‘safe’ and rational advertising.”

-Keith Weed: Chief Marketing & Communication Officer, Unilever

How often does your phone buzz, and just by reading half of the subject line, you can tell it’s spam?

Or have you ever wandered the maze of a corporate trade show, only to find that every booth feels the same?

Do you remember a single ad you saw last week on LinkedIn?

I sure don’t.

Growing a business requires developing systems.

Effective marketing requires creativity to stand out.

These two things can co-exist, but in order to do this effectively, your marketing team must be free of corporate bureaucracy. This means you must be willing to:

1. Say NO to committee-based decision making.

When decisions are made based on group consensus, creativity tends to get neutered.

2. Say NO to short-term metrics.

Short term metrics incentivize marketing teams to scream, “Sale, Sale, Sale!” which often yields short term results but has a detrimental effect long-term. As JCPenney and Bed Bath & Beyond will hopefully learn one of these days… Clients become conditioned to either ignore your shouts or just wait until your next sale. This leaves you with too narrow of a profit margin to grow. Steady growth comes from brand building over time, not primarily through sales activation.

3. Say NO to following the leader.

This should be obvious: marketing like everyone else defeats the purpose. Having spent 9 years in tech, I’ve learned that common sense isn’t common. If your customer would say your ads look the same as your competitor’s, you’re doing it wrong. If one media avenue is saturated by competitors, let them have that space. Plant your flag on top of another mountain.

This is one major challenge that industry-specific marketing firms face. They may bring a level of knowledge about your industry, but their strategies tend to be “rinse and repeat” for all their clients. They like to say things like, “We’ve taken this approach with hundreds of clients JUST LIKE YOU and they all had great results.”

I say, “RUN!”

To effectively market, you need to catch people’s attention, not blend in with how all the other industry ads look.

If you’d like to brainstorm, I set aside time each day to consult with business owners on their creative marketing strategies. Feel free to book a time here.