Some small businesses try to differentiate their brands through incredibly creative promotional campaigns that make them stand out against their competitors. They’re viewed as cutting-edge, bold, and revolutionary.
Others are more conservative, focusing on simple and solid communication, creating careful, top-quality messages targeted to their consumers. They’re often viewed as warm, thoughtful, and authentic operations.
So which is better and more important to focus on: creativity or clarity?
This article explains whether it makes more sense for your brand to push the bounds of creativity or to be known for how clearly you communicate. It also documents how to send messages to stakeholders about your marketing activities to ensure they’re successful.
Bold or careful: See which is the better approach to marketing your business.
Creative Promotions or Sound Communications: Questions to Consider
Here are some things to think about to determine the best way to approach marketing in your organization.
What is your brand’s personality?
If it includes words like playful, edgy, or forward-thinking, you likely want to demonstrate creativity in your marketing. If your descriptors are more like serious, intelligent, or authentic, a focus on solid communication is probably smart. If your brand is a combination of attributes, enhancing a foundation of good messaging with some creative twists could be a good way to attract and engage consumers.
If you don’t have a brand personality, what are you waiting for? A clear, defined, and documented brand is critical to creating solid and consistent marketing campaigns. If you don’t have one, invest your time and money in building your brand.
What resources do you have available to you?
Being innovative takes a big commitment. You don’t want to release an incredible campaign that awes consumers only to follow it up with a dull dud because you don’t have the talent or bandwidth to be consistently cutting-edge. If you don’t think you have the budget and resources to be exceptionally creative week after week and month after month, it’s probably wise to focus on high-quality evergreen communications.
What systems do you have available to you?
It’s not always the case, but in most situations, highly creative, cutting-edge campaigns often take advanced systems and software to run and track them. If you don’t have the budget and talent to run the backends of cutting-edge promotional efforts, it’s probably better to play it safe. Going big and failing in any way could seriously harm a brand.
What is your sales and customer service style?
If you have conservative people handling sales and customer service, they won’t be able to pay off a cutting-edge campaign. A disconnect could harm your brand and cause consumers who are into your marketing to, in the end, buy from another company. Always ensure your marketing, sales, and customer service processes are seamless to deliver the best buyer experience.
Carefully considering these questions will help you identify the right marketing approach for your organization.
No Matter Your Approach to Marketing, Communication Is Key
If you decide to pursue the path of highly creative or basic-communication marketing, in either case, you need to prepare your entire organization for it to be successful. Some organizations skip communicating with—and training—internal stakeholders before launching campaigns. They weigh speed-to-market ahead of organizational preparedness, which can be a big mistake.
A cool, cutting-edge campaign—or an effectively communicated message—can generate a lot of activity. If your sales and customer service team members aren’t adequately staffed or trained, a lot of calls could go unanswered and leads not followed up on. And the people on your team will likely be unable to respond to prospective customer questions related to the campaign, resulting in disconnects and loss of trust.
All the time and money spent generating buzz around a marketing effort will come to nothing if your organization isn’t ready to catch what you’re pitching.
How to: Communicate to Stakeholders About Your Marketing Efforts
Treat communication about marketing and sales activation as a process, not a single step or finite project. Here’s how to do it correctly.
Identify key stakeholders
Before launching any campaign, figure out everyone who needs to know about it. The list is likely more extensive than you think. Consider anyone who could impact its success and the overall buying experience. This could include everyone from salespeople and customer service representatives to truck drivers who could get questions when making deliveries. Segment your stakeholders into groups with similar job responsibilities or information needs.
Figure out what different stakeholders need to know and why
The only way you can craft effective marketing and training is to understand what’s in it for each group. In this type of communication effort, the WHY is more important than the WHAT. Create a grid that includes each group of stakeholders, what they need to know, and why. Once you do this, you can develop communications and training that will resonate with them.
Draft your key messages
For each audience, develop clear and concise messages that explain the new marketing effort, your rationale for it (especially important if it’s an innovative campaign), how you expect it to impact the organization, and most importantly, how it will affect the people in the different groups and what they need to know to respond to it while doing their jobs.
Develop and execute communications and training
Send out communications and schedule training prior to launching any marketing activity. Check to see that everyone understands it and their role in making it successful. Encourage questions, dialogue, and feedback.
Continuously monitor the effectiveness of your communication and training efforts. Leverage employee surveys and feedback to ensure everyone—and everything—is performing as you intend. If you identify any disconnects or issues, adjust your messaging and provide additional training or communications. A standard tool used to course correct after launch is a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document.
Creativity Versus Clear Communication: The Bottom Line
Choosing the right approach to marketing your business depends on several factors, including the resources available to you, brand personality, ability to be responsive, and more.
Whether you focus on creativity or sound communications—or a unique combination of the two—what’s critical is bringing key stakeholders into the fold before launching any campaign. By doing so, you’re optimizing the investment you make in your marketing.