Think about the best meal you’ve ever had. Would you have enjoyed it as much if you’d already eaten another giant meal right beforehand? What if you’d eaten it while walking outside on a really windy day? Or if you were allergic to one of the ingredients? The point is, while the meal itself might have been great, in the wrong context it likely wouldn’t have hit the spot quite the same way. The same concept is true in marketing.
No matter how clever the advertising headline, or how flawless the design, context plays a major role in how effective the campaign is as a whole. That’s why, here at Mustang, we follow a philosophy of “strategically driven creative.” The creative process always works better when it’s informed by a strong marketing strategy, with the following considerations in mind.
Focus on Your Goals
Your overarching marketing goals should be at the heart of every creative component of your campaign. For example, if your goal is to attract more young adults to your facility, but your collateral mostly shows images of kids or older adults, you might want to reconsider your approach. Your desired results should drive your creative decisions.
Know Your Audience
Time for some tough love. Just because you think something is funny, or engaging, or impactful, or whatever else, it doesn’t necessarily mean your audience will too. Take the time to get to know your target audiences’ demographics, personality traits and preferences, and develop your creative with their tastes in mind.
Honor Your Brand
Even if you come up with the perfect ad based on what you know your audience likes, it still might not work as planned if it feels out of character for your brand. Instead of creating the intended reaction, your collateral might feel inauthentic, leaving your audience confused and distrustful. On the other hand, if you do decide to deviate from the status quo, be prepared to consider rebranding — if your new marketing materials outperform your usual look, feel or brand personality, it will be hard to go back to doing what you’ve been doing now that you know something else might be more effective.
Communicate Consistent Messages
With each piece of creative you develop, consider how it will fit within the overall campaign. Reinforcing consistent, compelling messages across all campaign components will help your key ideas stick in the minds of your audience and make your marketing more memorable. By creating a cohesive campaign, each element will support the others in accomplishing your goals.
Make Data-Driven Decisions
As you consider creative concepts, evaluate the results of your past campaigns and try to get a feel for what has performed best over time. Incorporate the most successful ideas with a fresh spin, and try to avoid repeating anything that didn’t work as well as you would have liked.
For many of us, the creative is the most fun part of a marketing campaign. But it’s important to resist the temptation to rush right into it. If you take a more strategic approach, you’ll set yourself up for better results and a stronger return on investment.