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Chapter #2: Creative without strategy is art. Creative with strategy is marketing

5 May 2015
by Nick Washbourne

We all know that art can be incredibly valuable, but you can also spend a lifetime creating masterpieces that just don’t make business sense. Trust me, I’ve created many masterpieces; beautiful creative which haven’t made me a penny.

In a recent survey, 52% of marketers said that strategy was their biggest barrier to email marketing success.

Well… it sounds to me like there’s a lot of artists out there but not too many strategists. 

So what are they missing?

In this context, a strategy is a story explaining the road to success. 

Think of your marketing like it’s your first day of college. Your goal? To make friends so you’re not sat alone at lunch time.

You’re surrounded by people. You have so many to choose from – so what do you do?

Well, you could wait. Wait until you’re approached. Everyone has their own agenda, like you do. If you wait long enough, you’ll definitely be approached. Probably more than once, which is great.

But why stop there? Why not make as many friends as possible? Build friendships that will last?

If you go in with no strategy, here’s what will probably happen:

You know what your ultimate goal is, so you know that you need to start talking to people.

You find someone and ask ‘Will you sit with me at lunch?’

You’ve built no rapport; you don’t know this person at all, and more importantly, they don’t know you.

When they ask you some questions to establish who you are, you panic. You haven’t planned for this and you don’t know how to answer. Before you know it, everyone else has paired up and you’re exactly where you didn’t want to be – sat at lunch, alone.

So let’s rewind and take a look at where you went wrong…

What you should’ve done is created a strategy. A strategy that stems from your goals. You know that you want someone to sit with at lunch. You know, for that to happen, you need to get along, you need to build a relationship, you need to be friends!

Not only that, you need to know if they’ve already agreed to sit with someone else. If they have, you need to be able to work out why they chose that person, and what you can do to tempt them away. Are you going to buy them a drink if they sit with you? Do you have a deal with the cafeteria that means they get a nice discount if they dine with you instead of the other friend? Or are you simply just offering better company for them? Are you more fun?

If you think about all of this before you even approach someone, then you’ve got yourself a bullet-proof strategy. Nothing can surprise you and you have thought forward to the next stage, whatever their answer to the previous. 

What a marketing automation strategy offers you is the ability to build natural relationships and the option to choose your warmest leads before approaching anyone. Imagine you saw someone wearing a t-shirt of a band you like, or reading one of your favourite books… they’re the ones you’ll approach first. They’re your best bet. I

t’s a big world out there and the possibilities are endless. An effective strategy will help you decide who to approach and when, making your life easier.  

Photo of Nick Washbourne
Nick Washbourne
Commercial Director

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