Despite an ever-expanding universe of marketing channels and complexity, the creative process utilized by most marketers and agencies has remained unchanged for nearly a century. Creativity in today’s marketing and agency setting is reliant upon instincts. “Marketing itself is intuitive,” says Doug Zanger of The Martin Agency. Yet an intuition approach alone to creativity produces outputs that interrupt, confuse, or discourage consumers. Creativity — the force multiplier that ignites consumers’ desires, aspirations, concerns, and envy — struggles to deliver culture-shaping ideas and power-punch executions in today’s culture.
Why? Consumers consider advertising irrelevant. Advertising no longer engages elusive consumers who actively avoid it. About a quarter use ad-blocking technology. Only a third agree that advertising is a useful way to find new product information. And nearly two-thirds think that there are too many ads. Customer experiences are commoditized. Companies are swimming in a sea of sameness, with digital experience and customer experience initiatives that lack emotional connection and brand relevance, or they leverage the same technology to solve the same customer problem.
Creativity itself is not broken or irrelevant. But the creative process has not kept pace. Companies should modernize the process surrounding creativity.
Invigorate Creativity With Machine Intelligence
There’s always been tension between creativity and technology. On one side is the belief that technology can in no way replicate human tastes, sensibilities, or sociological understanding. And the opposing point of view is that humans cannot keep up with the scale, accuracy, or speed of technology. Neither of these absolute points of view are correct on their own.
The answer lies in combining the accuracy of technology with the artistry of human creativity. The combination breathes new life into the creative process, its practitioners, and its outcomes. Agencies are becoming smaller and smarter. Our research shows that agencies will automate 11% of jobs by 2023 as a result of accelerated adoption of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotic process automation.
CMOs and agency executives who infuse the potent combination of technology and creativity into marketing reap rewards. They can differentiate brands with hyper relevance, better meet the emotional needs of their customers, empower their employees by automating the boring work and elevating the fun work, and generate significant intangible value such as branding, corporate reputation, intellectual property, and innovation.
Introducing Intelligent Creativity — A Human+Machine Creative Process
We call this solution intelligent creativity, a process of creative problem-solving in which teams of creators and strategists conceive, design, produce, and activate business solutions with the assistance of AI, intelligent automation, and data. Intelligent creativity follows the same creative process but with the assistance of platforms and machines. Intelligent creativity helps businesses:
- Define the problem to solve with algorithms and insight.
- Develop creative solutions to these problems with the assistance of intelligent software.
- Verify and then scale creative solutions with machine precision and accuracy.
To take advantage of an intelligent creativity process, CMOs and agency executives should ask the following questions:
- How can you forge the right connections between marketing and IT to ensure that the right technology is deployed? Creativity and the use of technology should not start or stop at one department or another. The IT and marketing communities need tighter collaborations to spur growth.
- Who should own which portion of the martech stack? The answer likely varies depending on your internal resources and agency relationships. Agencies take different approaches to their internal tech strategy and external partnership. Joe Stanhope and I will soon publish a look at the agency tech stack to help you make decisions.
- How can your technology and partnerships better connect/integrate your marketing mix? Siloed, disconnected marketing is part of the problem. Uniting upper-funnel persuasion with lower-funnel precision for full-impact marketing requires connecting technology, creativity, content, and media.
- What talent is required to enact intelligent creativity? Digital marketing and storytelling talent can be oppositional. They must be interwoven throughout the process so that brand and technology conversance are equally valuable and used.
As you contemplate how to spark an age of creativity and transformation inside your company, read my latest report, “Intelligent Creativity Energizes Marketing Productivity.” Forrester clients can also reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an inquiry to discuss further.