Marketing: Systems, processes . . . and novelty


Bruce Philip, author of Consumer Republic, has written a provocative article in Canadian Business where he observes there is a risk when bean counters and systems-focused business consultants take over marketing responsibilities.

The processes may be prudent, he asserts, but effective marketing requires something more:

As anyone fighting in the trenches of modern marketing will tell you, the secret to winning isn’t technology, it’s novelty. real creativity — perennially in danger of being thrown out with the bath water of the analog age — has become a matter of survival for brands, just when they’re forgetting how to do it. Creativity should be high on every marketer’s agenda, not despite, but because of the pace of change. If you don’t believe me, consider the example of PwC, one of the world’s most prestigious accounting firms: not only do they have a chief creative officer — a former graffiti artist, no less — but they recently made him a partner.

This time, they might just be on to something.

These observations lead to some marvelous challenges. How do you manage, measure, or relate to the creative process, and what can you do to spur and encourage brilliant marketing innovations? ?Although there are various answers, including brainstorming, hiring/contracting diversity, and mind-bending/stretching exercises, ultimately real creativity needs an environment where either the systems can be busted, or they are loose enough to allow for it.

I’ll explore some more thoughts on this topic soon. In the meantime, if you have your own thoughts, you can email or comment (and your creative comment might just be the answer we are seeking.)

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