There needs to be a solid disconnect between the art of design vs. the science of marketing and in my experience, this hasn’t been clearly communicated to many people.
There’s a lot of people that have a pretty good eye for design, and plenty more than just think they have a good eye for design. To make it more complicated, there’s also plenty of people that couldn’t care less about design as long as a thing converts.
If you drew a line and put art on one side and science on the other, where does your advertising sit on the scale?
The companies that are going to dominate the world in 2019 will sit firmly in the middle and never stray too far to either side. This is along the lines of what we believe at ArrowX and what we teach our clients.
As we’ve stated previously, my priority isn’t to drive down your cost per lead – my priority is to make sure everyone on planet earth remembers your name in the correct way because it will lead to more sales. I’ll also freely admit that I’m not the worlds best graphic designer and I rarely approach Illustrator to do anything remotely close to ‘art’, But I do think it’s absolutely important to appreciate the creativity that works in tandem with psychology to make your marketing work.
As a real-world example, let’s look at a movie like Disney’s Frozen. I don’t have kids, but I know every dad reading this just rolled their eyes.
Frozen isn’t a particularly ground-breaking movie by any stretch of the imagination, so why does it capture attention so well? I mean let’s be real, I think we all know what the reception of that movie was like for kids everywhere.
I believe that Frozen sits on the perfect center of this scale.
On the artistic side, it featured masterful animation, soundtrack, and enough creativity in plot to stand out from every other Disney movie.
On the scientific side, we can all agree that there were certain templated things that led to a certain degree of confidence and expectation to the success of the movie, even before it was released. Things like a song performed by famous pop star (Demi Lovato), typical princess protagonist, typical under two-hour length, and don’t forget the typical foolish character to add comedic relief.
These things aren’t accidents, they’re executed purposefully because they’re proven tactics to make a children’s movie sell.
The artistic features are the parts that differentiate Frozen from The Lion King. If there was no creativity, they would be the same movie.
By realizing the implications of this, I’m sure you can look around at your business and some of the companies that have dominated consumer markets and realize how they position their marketing and advertising.
Advertising has rules, governed by psychology. If everyone optimized for these rules exclusively, every ad on earth would look the exact same and we probably wouldn’t remember any of the brands.
We can see a little bit of this through all of the minimalist brands that keep popping up. They all seem to feature a white box with black sans serif text, usually with a black solid border as well. Google ‘minimalist packaging’ and you’ll see thousands of examples of this type of branding.
The trick is to follow the rules but inject as much personality into your marketing as possible. Your personality and the intangible things that no one else can replicate are the art to your advertising principals.
Social media has made this even more possible since we can distribute marketing communications extremely cheaply and quickly. There’s less risk in distributing messaging that may not work because releasing a new ad is no longer a multi-million-dollar endeavor. Many brands are becoming more provocative today and this is my leading idea as to why – low risk of something not working.
So, when you’re looking at your advertising, how are you sitting on this scale?
One of the great things about working with (actual) marketing agencies is they will position your brand perfectly on this scale. Digital agencies (for the most part) will drive you all the way to the side of analytics and conversions because that’s what they do. Brand, art and feelings are far less important than delivering on their KPIs. After all, that’s why anyone hires them and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Digital marketing agencies have their place, but if your business is addicted to cheap leads then you’re in trouble. Facebook won’t be this cheap forever and you need to be able to adapt for when it’s not.
What I want you to realize today, is that the art behind the science is just as, if not more, important as the science because the art is what makes your brand stick.
I talk ad nauseum about branding because the market has proven that’s how to sell in the long term. Creating personality behind your branding, marketing or products is how you stick out. The colors, the pictures, the imaginary and the language all shape the way your customer sees you and it’s imperative that you’re seen as unique from your competitor.
Using proven techniques to sell through advertising is absolutely a smart idea, but take the time to work with a professional to develop the artistic and intangible aspects of your media. It’s really important to realize that these creative pieces are the parts that lead to lasting impressions and brand awareness that drives future sales, even if they don’t see anymore advertising from you.
And that’s the big idea.
The point is to show some advertising, increasing brand awareness, so that your customers come back to you instinctively, without you asking them each time.
It’s more expensive today but much higher value in the long run.