How The C-bomb Killed Marketing


It’s funny how as an industry we laud the vague and nebulous notion of creativity yet treat the straightforward and uncomplicatedly useful job of market research with contempt.

And yet, if you listen closely to the most creative people, you’ll notice something – invariably they are the ones that know the most stuff and that doesn’t happen by accident. They may disguise it all behind flip flops and frappucinos, but trust me, they are the hardest working person in any room.

As marketers, we all too often we use the c-bomb to justify our laziness – We don’t need to do the work. We can just sit around on beanbags, unleash our massive brains and transform fresh air into creative brilliance.

Sadly that just isn’t how it works.

I think you can put the best “creatives” into 2 categories:

  • There are those who possess a fantastically powerful business and cultural antennae – they just know lots of stuff about lots of stuff, and that knowledge, combined with their deep marketing expertise, allows them to act as an endless machine gun of ideas for just about any business or product.
  • You then have those that focus their energies into deep sector analysis. Ogilvy was famous for his product research. The Samwer Brothers are famous for their competitor research, as was a certain Steven Paul Jobs for that matter. They know where the existing players are spending their money, where they’re seeing their success, what most defines their products and what their customer journeys look like. This process of researching and frankly, copying the really good stuff, has acted as a springboard for many of the world’s leading entrepreneurs and marketers.

The Creativity Triangle Infograpgic

Marketing is not hard, but it is hard work. Put in that work, and the creativity will follow.

Or as Mr Jobs once wrote – “Creativity is just connecting things.”

See you next time,


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