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February 25, 2022 (Updated April 3rd, 2024)

​​The keys to creative marketing

by Caragh Medlicott posted in Quick Tips.

Ayoa | ​​The keys to creative marketing
Marketing has always been a creative industry, but with more voices than ever vying for customer attention, innovation has become the number one ingredient when it comes to standing out from the crowd.

While the prevalence of online marketing has meant more access to data and insights, it’s important not to assume that should mean creativity is redundant. In fact, even numbers are subject to human error as selective thinking can impede our ability to properly interpret facts and statistics. While there are various creative thinking techniques, such as design thinking, which can be used to help target those biases, the real trick to winning customers’ hearts and minds is to produce a truly innovative idea. And what about when it comes to sustaining that success? Then, a continued outpouring of top creative ideas is needed.

If you’ve ever felt stuck for inspiration, that your campaigns have become rote and lacklustre, or that hitting those big targets has become nigh on impossible, you probably need a spark of creativity to get things back on track. It’s no secret that the most successful marketing campaigns of all time have also been the most creative. Now you know that creativity is key to really successful marketing, keep reading for a step by step guide on how you can achieve dazzling heights of innovation in your next marketing campaign and beyond.

Don’t force it, daydream it

In the simplest terms, creativity is an act of invention. In arts and culture, inspiration is typically depicted as striking when people least expect it – the proverbial strike of lightning or light bulb above the head. In reality, creativity doesn’t have to be so elusive. In fact, the reason creativity sometimes occurs when it’s not expected is because of the role the subconscious mind plays in formulating ideas. So, next time you’re looking to come up with some quality marketing ideas that truly resonate with customers, the best thing you can do is to feed your imagination in advance with relevant information and knowledge. Do this without aim or purpose, and don’t – I repeat don’t – start trying to think of ideas yet. Instead, see this as the fuelling stage.

You’ve been filling up on information which can then be processed by your subconscious mind while you’re doing other things; what comes next?Daydreaming. Get set to work on something monotonous that keeps you mechanically engaged while leaving your mind free to wander. It could be doodling, walking, yoga or even a chore like washing up. While it might feel like you’re thinking about other things, you’ll soon experience that lightning spark for yourself when your subconscious cooks up the greatest blog topic you’ve ever dreamed of or a truly radical social media campaign.

Give structure to your creativity

If you were given a blank page and told to write a story without a deadline or starting prompt – do you think you’d be able to do it? The answer for most people would be “no”. Well, the same principle goes for creativity. Getting from 0 to 60 is hard if you don’t have some infrastructure to get your creativity rolling. While some people might see strategy as in opposition to creativity, handled correctly it can actually be a powerful tool for leveraging more ideas. The same way a writing prompt and strict deadline might help you get a story down, using time-proven creative thinking techniques such as mind mapping or design thinking can give structure to your creativity, so you can come up with all the best marketing ideas you’ve never quite gotten to before.

And the same goes for tools. You wouldn’t try to peel a potato with your hands or secure a nail without a hammer, so why try and approach ideation completely organically? Tools like Ayoa not only provide a safe place for live digital collaboration to take place – whether in person or online – they can also superpower your natural ideas. Ayoa is the only mind mapping tool to utilize AI in order to accelerate ideas. It enables users to ask questions, explore new angles and more easily bypass blocks and problems. In other words, a shortcut to some of the best marketing campaigns you’ll ever create.

Collaborate with your team

Two hands make half the work, and a whole host of brains can ultra-quadruple the number of ideas produced when brainstorming for your next campaign or launch. In their simplest form, ideas are simply old bits of knowledge fused together to make something new. Just as you can’t imagine a new colour, you can’t pluck a truly original idea out of thin air – every good idea takes inspiration and form from things that have come before it.

But still be wary when brainstorming with your marketing team as group ideations require extra care in order to avoid thinking traps which are commonly present when getting creative with others. From confirmation bias to groupthink, sometimes group dynamics can impede progress. To combat this, ensure you and all your team members first ideate on your own. This can be done ahead of time or even in a digitally collaborative brainstorming session thanks to the magic of Ayoa’s brainstorm solo mode. Then, everyone can go round and share their pre-written ideas – ideally a substantial number of 10 or more – and the group can carry on from there without worrying that people are agreeing with each other for the sake of it. Remember, no ideas are off the table. Encourage people to come up with both the mundane and the wacky. By the end, you’re sure to have a whole roster of great ideas that sit in that innovative sweet spot – halfway between safe and crazy – so that going forward your marketing is the most creative (best) it can be.

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Caragh Medlicott

Caragh Medlicott is a freelance writer and interim Editor of Wales Arts Review. After graduating with a First-Class Honours degree in English Literature and an MA in Creative Writing from Cardiff University she began a full-time writing career in Wales. She is the author of several published short stories and was shortlisted for the Lunate 500 award in December 2020, and a finalist in Narrative’s 30 Below competition in 2021. She is a regular contributor to BBC Wales' The Review Show.

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