We Creative Folks. Am I? Are You?

I recently had a great discussion with a friend about the difference between marketing and advertising. The takeaway I got: marketing people are like strategist, whereas advertising folks are, artists.

Marketing, from what I’ve learned and been doing for almost 4 years, consists all kinds of fundamentals / formulas: the SWOT analysis, the 4P idea, or as simple as seeing every business as a case study, identifying the underlying issue, analyzing the market & the consumer, then coming up with a solution. It involves studying product life cycle, conducting focus group, digging through all the stats finding the trends & pattern then trying to outweigh what competitors have been doing. To some extent, it’s a bridge between corporate & the market, sales and the customer / consumer. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

But I’ve always admired advertising industry. Like an opera with quartet: account team, creative team, media team, and the production team, the advertising realm is the creator of all kinds of masterpieces that makes you resonate, excited, or even open up your piggy bank and pay for whatever amount your monthly statement will shock you later on. I had the fortune to know a few professionals who works in advertising industry, and every time they share, they always blow my minds away.

But for many people, the difference between these two fields is sort of blurry. I mean, everyone can doodle. Right? But just as Microsoft Word doesn’t make all of us copywriters, the ability to doodle doesn’t make us creative. Not to the extent like advertisers, not at all.

Aside from knowing how to use photoshop or indesign doing some very basic rendering / retouching, marketers are far closer to sales. They are driven by stats or numbers. Their work or campaign has to have a track-able data supporting the so-called ROI (Return on Investment). Thus their point of view may sometimes be very different from a creative director’s perspective. Sometimes it’s a good thing; other times? Not so much. I recently read a great article called “The Creative vs. The Marketing Team: Yin & Yang; Oil & Water” by Speider Schneider. It lists out many ambivalent “love triangles” between these two parties. A very good read.

With that diverse angels, how do these two professionals coexist peacefully? Respect & open minds are the key. I’ve had the moments when people asked me to make a cutsheet and threw something like, “it shouldn’t be so hard or time-consuming for you to do this right?” and I couldn’t imagine if the same thing being said to any creative person. Remember? The ability to doodle doesn’t make a person creative. And certainly creating a cutsheet isn’t just about copy & paste an image to a blank document.

As much as I consider myself creative (or at least full of “light-bulbs” very often), I am still amazed how glamorous the creatives work in advertising industry. Only do I hope one day I can work with these people & learn to see the whole business in a different perspective.

Are you a creative person yourself? And how do you manage to work with people driven by different perspectives?

5 Responses to “We Creative Folks. Am I? Are You?”

  1. jhoysi
    2010/07/26 at 2:07 PM #

    Haha! As a creative person, I hear almost daily the “this shouldn’t be hard,” or “I don’t understand why you can’t just do this by 1pm!” requests. They’re always a pleasure to field…

    On a more serious note, I enjoyed your perspective that marketers and creatives do and should work peacefully together. I have read so many articles by marketers that say to push back against creativity because the results of this recipe equals success. It’s refreshing to see an article more along the vein of how I feel about our relationship. That is, because we come at the problem from opposite points of view, we should be able to take what we can from each other to come up with the best possible results.

    • evelynchou
      2010/07/26 at 5:55 PM #

      Definitely. However, because of this opposite points of view, sometimes there seems no mutual grounds for both parties.
      I’ve been reading “Talent is Not Enough: Business Secrets for Designers,” and the book emphasizes a lot on “what needs to be done right.”
      In reality, projects gets started even before there’s a clear landscape of the scope.
      I wonder under such a circumstances how marketers & the creative can seek out the solutions to tackle the problem.

  2. Quentin Magos
    2010/07/27 at 2:37 AM #

    Dream as if there’s no tomorow, but die another day… However, if you’ve had enough of that sort of thing in the advertising world for today…why not find out if an anomaly found lying on the path to the future offers any opportunity to create something better by adapting to what caused it, and you need to know the rules to do so? As (especially in this case) rules in the business world are for following, and following in good order. While if you agree with me on this point (that is, if you want to learn something really useful today) then why not follow this hyperlink: http://www.therulesofacquisition.wordpress.com/ as it may take you somewhere that you always wanted to go, but didn’t previously know that you always wanted to get there.

  3. Antonio
    2010/08/13 at 3:07 PM #

    When I attended a business camp in Jr High, I got put on the marketing team. But being that it was a camp we were also in charge of advertising.

    I discovered that I am ruthless. The camp had a designated area for “public” ads, aside from our designated ad space. I had the brilliant idea to make about 150 coaster sized ads of or company logo and put them out in a checker board pattern on the wall. Thereby restricting the competing groups to only use small ads and compete with the other people who had their bigger ad space ideas destroyed by our tactics.

    Needless to say..the other teams complained and we had to take down MOST of the logos(the people in charge acknowledged that the idea was good, but hurt the idea of the competition), but from that point on EVERYONE new our group. I still take some pride in that.

    Oh, our business team sucked pretty bad at reading the market predictions and we scored on the lower end of the overall rankings.

  4. Antonio
    2010/08/13 at 3:12 PM #

    Well I suppose what I wanted to say is that Marketing can use creativity as well as advertising, as much as advertising can use tactics

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