What’s holding back creativity in marketing?
The biggest impediment to creativity is not a lack of direction or failure to be bold enough, it’s a risk-averse culture, cited by 51 percent of marketers, followed by short-term-focus (48 percent), according to new research from the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA).
Other barriers to creativity specified in the global survey of 640 client-side marketers were too many decision makers, 44 percent; budget cuts, 40 percent; poor measurement, 30 percent; lack of talent (within agencies), 29 percent; over-emphasis on efficiencies, 26 percent; lack of belief in creativity, 24 percent; and lack of talent (within client organization), 23 percent.
Of the respondents, 82 percent felt “creativity is marketing’s most potent weapon,” yet only 28 percent regard it as critical to their success.
Natalie Lam, chief creative officer APAC and MEA, Publicis Groupe, said in the study, “It’s a tough job to be a client nowadays because there’s a long checklist of things you must do: the KPIs, the ROIs, measurement, checking the boxes — oh is this purposeful enough? Are we featuring enough diversity? … Everybody’s time is finite. So, once you check all the boxes, there’s very, very little time and effort and energy left for true creativity.”
Sir John Hegarty, cofounder of the British agency, BBH, believes an obsession with data has led to marketers “stalking” consumers rather than inspiring them.
“Creativity is the oxygen which drives business,” Mr. Hegarty told MarketingWeek earlier this year. “Unless you engage with that, you won’t go on developing, you won’t go on innovating.”
A 2020 study led by professors at the University of Waikato found the reason “great” creative ideas from agencies don’t get pitched to clients is disagreement over whether it’s “appropriate.” The researchers wrote in the Journal of Advertising Research, “Particularly for highly original ideas, if the idea isn’t expressed in a way that [senior agency executives] will recognize as work that ‘fits established patterns’ and ‘has stood the test of time,’ it most likely will scare risk-averse clients.”
Studies have shown that the more creative an advertising campaign, the more likely it is to create a lasting impression on a consumer.
- Marketers failing to overcome key barriers to creativity, WFA research – WFA
- WFA uncovers the biggest blockers of creativity and effectiveness – Campaign Asia
- WFA Report Addresses The Decline Of Marketing Creativity And What To Do About It – MediaPost
- ‘Don’t stalk, inspire’: Sir John Hegarty on why brands are failing to build long-term relationships – MarketingWeek
- Why Do Great Creative Ideas Get Killed? – Journal of Advertising Research
- Creativity in Advertising: When It Works and When It Doesn’t – Harvard Business Review
- The Importance of Creativity: How the Advertising Industry Promotes Creative Authenticity – Auburn Advertising
- Marketers Need to Deliver Creative That Makes a Lasting Impression and Focus Less on Functional Messages – Kantar Millward Brown
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you see as the greatest barriers to creativity in advertising and marketing campaigns? Where do marketers need to focus to boost their creative performance?