Is There a Lack of Creative Talent in Marketing?

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No matter how much research you put into a strategy and no matter how talented your specialists are at execution, your marketing will fall on its face if creative isn’t on point. Unfortunately, not all companies and brands can see this. In a 2014 survey by ad agency RPA, 74% of the marketing agency clients surveyed did not believe that creative work could move their business. Here’s the good news for those of us who believe in creative work—and possibly have careers in creative work—these 74% of clients couldn’t be more wrong. In truth, fostering creativity amongst employees can have ripple effects throughout a business

I recently read Adobe’s latest whitepaper, ‘Digital Marketing’s Creative Promise’, which had a wealth of statistics around the value of creative work in marketing as well as the value of investing in creative individuals. Find the most substantial statistics below:

  • “Companies that foster creativity are 3.5 times more likely than their peers to achieve revenue growth of 10% or more.”
  • “Highly creative [marketing] campaigns can uplift business results by 50%.”
  • “A 2014 study by the Association for Data-Driven Marketing and Advertising found that creative brand campaigns are far more effective than short-term response campaigns in generating sales and profits.”

The thing is, it’s hard to find truly talented creative people. And it can be even harder to get them to work for you. Many skills can be taught, but pure creative talent isn’t one of them. You simply can’t take a willing candidate with no natural skill and teach them to be a jaw-dropping writer, designer, photographer, etc.

Additionally, the stereotype that people who work in creative positions are underpaid or unemployed (e.g., the ‘starving artist’) is simply untrue. The creatives that you want to work for you know their talent and thus know their worth in the marketplace. They typically have high standards for where they choose to work and should expect to be given the freedom and support to be truly creative.

I certainly don’t want this to be the kind of article that holds up “the talent” on some pedestal, as every role in marketing plays an integral part in success (something I’ll talk about in more detail later). It’s simply a fact, though, that marketers are struggling to achieve the level of creativity they need to make their marketing efforts really soar. In fact, in Ad Age’s 2016 reader survey “Improving creative excellence” was ranked the 2nd most important issue for marketers in 2016.

Ultimately, the best way to achieve creative excellence is to hire, retain, and maintain excellent creative talent.

How to Find & Attract Creative Talent

There are a lot of different types of creative talent – writers, designers, user experience specialists, videographers, photographers, and more. The good news is the places that you can find these people are as varied as their talents. Many designers and writers and other creatives have personal websites dedicated to showcasing their portfolios, allowing you to get an extremely accurate look at what they can do.

Plus, there are a variety of online communities where you can find creative talent, some of which are looking for work. Below are some of these online communities, which you can use to scope out new hires, check out portfolios, and find experienced freelancers that might be looking to settle down with a company that truly embraces creativity.

Finding these people is only half the battle, though. To attract the kind of creative talent that will make your marketing efforts truly successful, you need to have a work environment that prioritizes and supports creativity. If you can create this kind of environment and display it in your recruiting materials, on your website, and in your media communications, building a pipeline of creative talent should be a breeze.

How to Retain Creative Talent

After putting all of this effort into finding just the right person for your creative needs, the last thing you want to do is lose him or her. If you intend to retain excellent creative talent–and have them perform at their peak capabilities–it is wise to provide flexible work environments, leeway for the proper creative process, challenging and interesting projects, and a full team to support their efforts.

While it may sound excessive to demand that one person have a support full team, it’s necessary for fostering creative excellence. Without a solid team structure around your creative employees, you risk making two crucial mistakes:

  1. Investing in creative resources–in terms of both people and time–but lacking the follow-up necessary to ensure that it is distributed and used effectively. In this case, creative work (no matter how excellent it is) is wasted and eventually seen as unnecessary.
  1. Expecting your creative talent to also take charge of more technical aspects such as research, strategy, distribution, and analysis. In this case, you’re still lacking the proper structure necessary to support creative work, but you’re relying on the wrong person to ensure it is distributed and used effectively. Creative employees will not be able to focus on their most important task–producing creative work–and will likely not manage the other aspects of strategy as skillfully as a more technically experienced marketer would be.

With the proper team structure, you can not only achieve creative excellence, but you can create an environment that attracts creative talent, supports creative talent, and allows creativity to flourish and grow your business.

To establish this team structure, make sure you have the following team members–and make sure that creativity lives purely in the ‘production’ role:

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Avoid creative burnout through a solid team structure. Statistic: Digital Marketing’s Creative Promise.

  • Planning
  • Production
  • Distribution
  • Analysis

With the exception of the creative/production role, all of these roles–which require their own extremely valuable skill sets–are prevalent in marketing already. It’s just a matter of recognizing how all of their talents work together to set your marketing efforts–and your marketing team–up for success.

Conclusion

Remember, you’re not looking for someone who can create decent sounding or decent looking marketing materials – you’re looking for someone who tells a story (and tells it well), whether that be through written word, spoken word, or images and design.

Hire talented creators, give them creative freedom, and support them with strategists and the technically skilled.

So, back to my original question—how do you attract creative talent? Show them that you offer all of this.

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Did you like this post? Let us know why (or why not) in the comments. In the meantime, check out our blog Are You a Marketing Artist? to learn about the necessity of balancing creativity, data, and technical skills in marketing.

Victoria Grieshammer

About Victoria Grieshammer

Victoria Grieshammer is the Marketing Coordinator of Content Development at Fathom. Formerly, she was the Head of Marketing on the Fathom Manufacturing team. Victoria joined Fathom as an Associate Copywriter after graduating from Allegheny College with degrees in English and Psychology. Her previous experience includes e-commerce copywriting at Little Tikes and coordinating social media campaigns for small businesses, giving her a varied background in digital marketing. When she’s not at Fathom writing and learning, you can find her jogging around Cleveland or reading a book. You can also find her on Twitter at @Vgrieshammer1.

2 Comments

  • Mark says:

    Hi Victoria
    An excellent article with step by step explanation. I would recommend it to everyone who is stepping into the field of content writing. Quality content writing has to have all these elements. And to help out writers, there are so many useful tools available online.
    Here are a few tools which may be helpful to the readers who are content writers or they are aspiring to be one.
    • Freemind: A mind-map creating website
    • Creativity Portal’s Imagination Prompt: Say goodbye to your writer’s block here.
    • SEOpressor/headline generator: A good headline can make all the difference
    • CoSchedule Analyzer: Analyzes how good your headline is.
    • Grammarly: No matter how creative the content is, bad grammar can ruin the whole post.

    • Victoria Grieshammer Victoria Grieshammer says:

      Hi Mark, Thanks for the comment and the resources! I’m glad you enjoyed the blog. I agree, there are tons of useful tools available for writers and I use a lot of them to refine my own writing. Grammarly is one of my absolute favorite writing tools. I’m also a big fan of Hemingway App, which helps to simplify writing while also making it more powerful.

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