With over 90% of marketers believing that creativity is essential for achieving marketing success, you would think it would be the foundation of every B2B campaign: yet only 10% of B2B marketers say their marketing is creative – why? The most common barriers seem to be a lack of courage or innovation, a resistance to change and a fear of taking risks. This has to stop.
In an interview for Boss to Boss, Rory Sutherland argued that in a way, digital marketing has limited creativity as people see the fantastic targeting capabilities as a replacement for creativity. But of course, this is not true. As Rory states: “Targeting only finds customers, creative actually generates them.” So, if you want to differentiate yourself from your competitors and create a lasting impression on your audience, you need to get creative.
As the old saying goes: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”. And it’s true. Ultimately, if you’re thinking big, you’re more likely to achieve big, and even if you fail, you are still likely to achieve something spectacular.
So, how can you break free from a creative slump? Well, here are five ideas to get you started.
Define what creativity means
To truly know whether your campaigns are creative, you first need to understand what creativity actually is. Of course, there is the more traditional definition which refers to the use of images, ideas and words to overcome issues and drive results. On the other hand, there is a modern take on the phrase, which refers to the use of insights and new technologies to overcome challenges. In both cases the goal is to produce innovative ideas to engage new and existing audiences while helping to overcome challenges, gain a competitive advantage and ultimately, drive sales.
The key here is to remember that creativity has no boundaries, meaning you shouldn’t obsess over conforming to traditional ideas, but rather approach everything with an open mind and remember that creativity comes in many forms.
Feeling at a loss with your creativity? Why not remove yourself from the creative barriers of your mind by putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Think of things from new perspectives; start by experimenting with rephrasing tasks and ideas. For example, asking yourself: “Why should I do this?” will likely bring very different responses than if you were to ask: “Why shouldn’t I do this?”
Next, move on to customer insights: arguably the most valuable tool in your arsenal. After all, the most successful campaigns are those which resonate most with your target audience, so what better way to achieve results than to put yourself in their shoes?
Another great way to unlock new perspectives is through reading; this can be anything from blogs and social media posts to books and whitepapers. Still feeling sceptical? Well, this method is tried and tested, with 70% of marketers saying they do this regularly to help inspire creativity. So, in the words of Michael Jordan: “Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try.”
Top tip: your research doesn’t have to start and end with literature; don’t be afraid to take inspiration from what you already know is effective i.e. if one of your competitors is doing something particularly well, think about how you can evolve and adapt the idea to suit your business.
We’ve all heard the phrase ‘Dream big’, and that’s exactly what you should be doing when it comes to creating your B2B marketing campaigns. Sometimes it’s necessary to push boundaries and challenge the norm because if you always play it safe, you’ll simply fade away.
Just take a look at Apple; do you think they became successful through following the crowd? Absolutely not. They thrive off of being different and adopting a new approach to everything in life. Innovation and creativity fuel their brand; it’s what differentiates them and creates a lasting impression.
While thinking big is a great way to get those creative juices flowing, it can quickly become a source of stress if plans are too overwhelming – so, how can you avoid this? Planning. Be prepared for a long journey to get to that dream destination. Remember: “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Good things take time, so while dreaming big is important, being realistic with your journey is fundamental.
As humans, our instinct tells us to follow plans. We like to stick to routines and expect the expected, so when something comes along and throws us off course, it can leave many feeling flustered and frustrated – don’t let this be you. Change is inevitable, so embrace it and be prepared to evolve.
While having a strategy is important, sticking to a step-by-step plan is not essential; you need only know the direction you want to head in and an overview of your path, the rest should fall into place over time. If something changes or a plan isn’t working, don’t be afraid to adopt a new approach.
Remember, creativity is all about thinking of innovative ways to overcome obstacles, so don’t be disheartened if something goes wrong; think of it as a new opportunity to express your creativity and improve your campaigns.
Brainstorm (a lot)
Every great campaign has to start somewhere. If you look at successful campaigns, the likelihood is that one great idea was a rose among hundreds of thorns. So, don’t be afraid to think outside the box; after all, good ideas often come from surprising places. What may seem ludicrous to begin with could end up being something really great with the right strategy behind it.
While brainstorming on your own is a good way to break creative boundaries and push your mind to new limits, as the saying goes: “Two heads are better than one”. So, why not organise weekly or monthly creative meetings to bounce ideas off each other and obtain constructive feedback? It’s a fantastic opportunity to build upon ideas and unlock different perspectives.
If you’re still feeling lost, why not contact us today for a free consultation? We can not only help you to create your big idea; we can make it a reality, too. With 81% of B2B marketers saying agency support is a big enabler of creativity, this could be the partnership you need to take your business to the next level.