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Marketing OR creativity – is it one or the other?

Marketing OR creativity – is it one or the other?

In thinking about creative work, I’ve found it helpful to employ two different ways when approaching the work: self expression and problem solving.

Self expression emerges from the individual point of view of the artist – unearthing a person’s interior thoughts and feelings and building connections with other people through the work.

Problem solving is based on thinking about the function in more objective terms – communicating a idea to particular audience, emphasizing one thing while downplaying another. On the surface, it’s not really about the creative person at all.

Years ago, I went to a presentation where the speaker said he views his job as a communicator like that of a plumber, charged with the task of moving water from one location to another. The person who said it was a master at his craft, using marketing communications to grab attention and communicate value.

I was struck by the concept of comparing  traditionally “artistic” elements such as illustrations, photography, and writing with laying pipe and wondered if accepting the garb of a trades person made it easier for people to accept the scenario he presented, in which success or failure could be objectively proven in such a straightforward way.

In my mind, it defines the single most important characteristic of excellence in marketing – the discipline of sizing up and solving a problem by seeing it through a different set of eyes but, paradoxically, still trusting in your own intuition and creativity to evaluate the work honestly and accurately. It’s a perspective that I try to cultivate in myself and with my clients, and I encourage you to use when thinking about your own marketing work.

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