VR, Voice, AI, Blockchain, Split testing, Automation and Optimised content. It just goes on and on.

Out of the box software solutions will not give you out of the box thinking.

They are just tools, they have nothing to do with Marketing communications or creativity.

Creativity is human, machines are not. Creativity is thinking, machines just do.

Marketers who become too enamoured by the magic of technology will do their employers, agencies and clients a disservice. As a Marketer, you are there to help everyone in an organisation to make better decisions. To enable, empower and to innovate so that an organisation can move forward.

The technology stuff mustn’t be allowed to replace creativity in Marketing communications. Advertising is in such a sorry state these days precisely because Marketing is in a sorry state. Remember, Marketing comes before Advertising. It’s all a knock on effect.

The point is that Marketers need to step back, remember that we are supposed to be dealing with people. Set clear objectives free from the techno wank. Then give those objectives to a creative agency in a tight, no nonsense brief. The last thing creatives want is a fucking dissertation about blockchain, AI and how important it is for the video to be aimed at social media engagement using a checklist of “requirements”.

But surely all the processes and technology will empower creatives?

No.

You’re not the creative, so stop trying to take over. Shut up.

The copywriters, the video production company, the graphic designer. I feel their pain. We need them more than ever because they are the final part of the puzzle. We need their ideas and their help, they need ours too. They need real briefing from quality trained Marketers, it’s the only way that their true creativity will come to bear. That is how you get results, through trust.

Otherwise you’re just another pain in the arse client who is only there to pay the bills.

A brief should be one page, not a deck of fifty PowerPoint slides. Keep it simple.

Creativity is messy and random, it doesn’t come about through structure or committees. That’s why less is always more when it comes to helping agencies and creatives with briefing. The worst thing you can do for an advert is to reduce it down to a tick box exercise of trendy tech buzzwords then submit it to a board or committee to review for each draft. This will result in tired creatives being told that it just has to be a “6 second micro content video for social media aimed at Millennials” for it to work.

That is a disastrous way to deal with advertising. Because then the pipe becomes the goal, but the pipe is just a carrier for the message. You must remember that.

If techno junk keeps seeping into the realms of the creative then creative will be dissected and disinfected until it comes out looking like corporate sludge. Conservative, safe, inoffensive but not very interesting and certainly not funny and absolutely won’t help sell anything.

Vorsprung Durch Technik.

What the fuck does that mean?

It’s German.

That’s all the audience needs to know, because it says one thing to those considering a car — quality.

A committee will not understand this and the focus on pipes and technology will draw you along the path of greyness. Here is an example; in a modern context, that ad could be displayed digitally and split tested. To death. Because if the advert doesn’t result in a click then it needs changing. The customer journey touch points haven’t been fully optimised so we’ve used integrated AI machine learning to match the response points and edit the advert in real time. Typing that last sentence made me feel a bit sick.

That great idea “Vorsprung Durch Technik” never had chance to grow and become part of the cultural lexicon, because you techno smashed it to death in 2018.

It’s personal anecdote time, let’s rewind to about 9 years ago.

I was a hobby film maker during my youth and a professional video editor for around six years when I graduated. It was always sporadic and messy but that’s just how creativity works, organised chaos at best. I was a freelancer, as most agency staff are. Under paid and undervalued, you know the story.

My work was never improved by constant evaluation and tweaking, it was only ever dumbed down until it was a puddle of its former self. Most of the corporate projects I worked on were written by the client, directed by the client and then over analysed by the client. I was a tool.

The handful of projects I was trusted to write and develop with clear simple objectives set by great Marketers were a success. I was a creative.

The message of this anecdote is as follows.

A good Marketer empowers creatives to do their job, not to take over from them. Keep the focus off the pipes. The creatives are humans, they are not tools. Guide the hand, don’t grab it by the wrist. Because it’s the human touch that makes the advertising speak loudest.

A good idea comes about when you’re having a shower or brushing your teeth. It happens at random and it’s often fleeting, sometimes when you’re absolutely miserable and at the lowest point you suddenly have a great idea for a client’s poster. Some people have creativity, most don’t and those that don’t think that process based technology is the answer to everything.

Let’s clear the pipes, throw away the latest fad nonsense and leave the creative to the creatives.

Oh and Marketers, learn to brief.

I’m a Marketing consultant. I help my clients make more money. Better Marketing means better business. Offering strategic advice and services that will help you to focus on the areas that matter most.

Written by

I'm a Marketing consultant. I help my clients make more money. Better Marketing means better business. https://samuelbrealey.co.uk/

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