Today’s creative: It’s no longer just one thing; it’s everything

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Today’s clients are faced with heavier competition, less product differentiation and an increased need for accountability. Their customers are increasingly resistant to traditional marketing efforts. So how do you reach them?

You can reach customers by realizing that creative is no longer just one thing—it’s everything.

Creative is the ultimate expression of the strategy, the voice that will engage with the consumer, the touch point where the brand connects with the customer one-on-one. Marketers are demanding holistic thinking around their brands, as well as strategic focus for creating the ultimate customer experience. The successful creative of the future must be a new breed: a master of brand, direct marketing and interactive, as designations fall by the wayside and everything simply becomes known as “marketing.”

While there is a proliferation of communications channels, connecting with customers is difficult because they are channel-agnostic. What are the right tools and opportunities to offer them in your marketing message? Should it even be a marketing message per se? How do you leverage/harness the growing popularity of consumer-generated content?

Consumers are in control—TiVo-ing, deleting and tossing marketing messages in the circular receptacle—which makes decisions about how to spend marketing dollars increasingly complex. And if that were not enough, rapidly changing data and technology advancements, combined with ever-evolving legal and budgetary restraints, are adding to the fray.

Widespread adoption of high-speed Internet has led to more online activity. More than one-fifth of newspaper readers have almost entirely shifted their newspaper reading to the Web, according to a new report from Nielsen//NetRatings. The Internet is now also reaching more adults than magazines, according to the American Press Institute. Consumers are the ultimate chameleons—one day buying in a store, the next day purchasing online, the day after responding to direct mail and DRTV. So ultimately, the solution is creative. Creative must be able to talk to them—in any language, anywhere, any time and any place.

So what does this all mean?

Communications need to do more than just sell or inform. They must transform the user experience into an engaging brand event. As guardians and stewards of the brand experience, creative needs to push the boundaries of each medium. Now, more than ever, creative needs to deploy high-impact, innovative solutions across all media platforms, on any device. Creative must be the master of ideas—big ideas— ideas that can work everywhere. The successful creative must know TV, print, direct, Web, viral marketing, PR, promotions and guerrilla marketing. The world we live in now requires speed to market and anticipation of what is to come. The successful creative must have the rare talent of thinking big and thinking fast simultaneously. But it doesn’t end with big and fast. Creative must also produce work that sells.

Because today, creative isn’t just one thing—it’s everything.

Holly Pavlika is exec VP-chief creative officer at G2 direct & digital (

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