One of my favorite quotes about creative’s role in marketing comes from a 2015 keynote speech by Gary Vaynerchuk: Creative is always the variable to the conversion. I don’t know how anyone could argue that this isn’t the case—no matter where you place an ad or how much you pay to amplify it, you still have to put the right creative in front of your audience to influence their perceptions and behaviors.
As important as creative is, it’s still one of the easiest cuts to make when it comes to budgeting because it can technically get done on a shoestring budget, unlike project management, ad placement, and pay-to-play thresholds on media sites, which are hard costs.
But when we slice the budget for creative, we’re selling the entire campaign short because we’ve essentially cut the legs off of our only opportunity to win hearts and minds. It’s similar to planning a cross-country road trip and neglecting to invest in the vehicle that’s supposed to get you from A to B. You might have big plans for the destination, but without a reliable vehicle, you’ll never get there.
Creative is the vehicle for reaching your campaign goals. With the right investment, it can take you further than you ever dreamed. But under-investing in creative can backfire when your team doesn’t have the resources to execute on the vision and instead must produce a lesser version of the original idea. You can see this a lot in content marketing especially—in the race to fill the funnel with content, companies often end up choosing quantity over quality.
It takes the right image with the right copy to really hit people in the heart, as Gary says. And no amount of paid amplification is going to make sub-par creative suddenly successful. Personally, I’d like to see what would happen if a brand decided to flip the creative and paid media budgets—going all-in on a creative concept and sacrificing some amplification vs. sacrificing creative budget to meet the minimum recommendations for paid placement.
There’s no arguing that both creative and paid amplification are necessary for a successful campaign. And while it may seem risky to cut advertising dollars in favor of a heavier creative production, the net result could potentially be better than if more had been spent on ad placement. You never know until you try.
The MBB+ creative department is ready and willing to embark on a creative project when you are. Drop us a line if you’re looking to go all-in on a new creative concept.