Bigger and more talented teams often lack the rudder of marketing experience
Look around your marketing office, and you will find many gifted and creative people. You’ve got your writer, your webmaster, and your photographer. An amazing designer, and your video person has just earned a third regional award.
Depending on the size of the team, some of these positions may be combined or divided. Your webmaster may be a writer who creates content and works closely with Information Technology. On a large team, your video producer, sound, and editing may be handled by entirely different people; small team, you simply have an “Adobe Creative” guru to handle all of it.
So where is the marketing the professional?
Ask any one of these creatives if they are in marketing or communications, and I’ll bet most or all of them will answer “Yes.”
Ask again who has the strongest background in client service, sales, or holds an MBA, and the results are more mixed. You may even be greeted by silence.
What you have is a solid team of creatives, people perhaps out of journalism, design, a few IT folks so things keep running...but where is the marketing person? Who is the person whose idea of fun is attending a chamber event or trade conventions rather than an art show or Comic-Con?
I will never denigrate the vast importance of having a talented team of creatives. With the right experience, graphic designers will make great marketing leaders, as can photographers. To find the distinction between marketing and creative design (in the broad sense) is not to connote mutual exclusion. Logo designers can be business leaders! There is neither implication nor exclusion of these professions. They can overlap, but they are different.
People with a business degree or experience in business administration bring a briefcase full of assets to any duffell bag team of talented creatives.
These assets include but are not limited to: business to business development, SWOT analysis, experience in building community partnerships, a nose for return on investment, ability to measure value added in any project, managing focus groups, developing objective surveys that do not give advantage to expected outcomes, following trends on a most favorable marketing mixes, upsetting such trends as circumstance dictates, developing marketing and feasibility studies, quantitative as well as quantitative analysis and coding, and...numbers. Lots and lots of numbers. Numbers that maybe only your social media guru and webmaster understand but that everyone will benefit from.
This marketing person will be interested in quality, but equally interested in cost, reach, and impact of various distribution channels. He or she will question whether a small event with a community partner, an accompanying press release, and a social media bump of $20 could have greater short- and long-term returns than a dozen ad buys. Could a contract photographer with a solid reputation working with your graphic designer go viral, create greater awareness than the production video and ad buy at literally a fiftieth the cost? A hundredth?
Each of the aforementioned channels may be required, but what is the right mix based on current data? Is some risk of investment on untapped high-performing or emerging channels less “risky” than doing things the same old way?
Most importantly...is anyone taking calls and responding to customers while all this creative work and analysis going on?
These are creative questions, but in the business sense. They are marketing questions.
Every business needs a marketing person on its creative team. And while marketing questions run the risk of boring or even annoying the creative team, once they over that hump, your creatives will find new and even more inventive ways to be creative as goals and objectives are set, plans made, and outcomes roll in.