"Creatives aren't mushrooms"
On Monday, March 4 at the 2019 High Five Conference, Alex Withers, CMO at inMotionNow, and Ed Roberts, a Global Brand & Creative Strategist spoke about the growing trend of organizations bringing their creative teams in-house, and the ways in which that trend has brought unique challenges to in-house creative teams and their internal partners.
Alex commented “You can see the situation as either a glass is half-full or half-empty kind of way, depending on how you look at it. While many organizations are citing efficiency as a reason to bring creative in-house, it’s also a sign that organizations are beginning to view creative as strategic partners to the business, and not just another vendor.”
“It’s a sign that organizations are beginning to view creative as strategic partners to the business.”
Alex and Ed noted that some of the recent statistics from the 2019 In-House Creative Management Report show a “wobbly” relationship between the marketing and creative teams at most organizations. Leadership scores poorly, with only 64% of respondents reporting that creative leadership is effective, and only 54% reporting that marketing leadership is effective. Moreover, a fifth (22%) of creatives think that collaboration between the creative and marketing team is weak. Ed identified one of the main causes of this wobbliness as creative teams being left out of key conversations. “Creatives are not mushrooms. We don’t thrive in the dark, we want to be informed of what is going on. For many people in the business, what we do is squishy. If we can become more data driven in how we communicate with other departments, they will begin to understand our value, and include us in more of these strategic conversations.”
How can marketing and creative teams improve their relationship? Alex suggested that the teams can begin to bridge the gap by reevaluating their processes. The biggest challenges faced by creative teams in 2019 are the speed at which they are expected the work, the volume of work they deal with every day, and that they are not seen as being strategic contributors to the business. As Ed pointed out “the superpower of an in-house creative team is their ability to be nimble, but if they don’t have a robust process to fall back on, that is their kryptonite. They aren’t super heroes anymore if they don’t have process behind them.”
Alex added that creatives can vastly improve their relationship with their marketing partners and have more effective interactions with them if they provide a clear path for their marketing clients. For example, the Creative Management Report found that 72% of creatives report that the biggest obstacle to their work is getting all the information they need to get started on a project. By providing the marketing team with a clear template brief for projects, the creative team can spend less time chasing marketing and spend more time on productive conversations.
Alex and Ed closed the session by reiterating that in-house creative teams have a lot to be excited about. Organizations are taking their contributions more seriously and increasing their investment. However, for creative teams to take advantage of these opportunities they need to form closer, more collaborative partnerships with their marketing teams.