Perhaps the single most important trend in the entire field of marketing right now is the push to make everything more analytical and data-driven. Budgets are meticulously tracked, campaigns are constantly measured and evaluated, new tactics are tested and optimized, all in an endless search for better ROI.
Marketing was once widely considered by the rest of the business to be the “make things pretty” department. But as creative recruiters, we’ve watched it evolve into the high-pressure position of “make things profitable” department.
It’s not enough to just grow the business by making it look good. Today’s marketers are expected to demonstrate their contribution and prove that it positively impacts the bottom line.
That’s good news for most contemporary digital professionals, who now have a variety of tools and strategies available to measure their work. But if you’re an individual that comes from a more traditional career in creative staffing, agency, and full time jobs, then you might not be so well-equipped to thrive in this new age of numbers and statistics and technology.
There’s still plenty of room for creative talent, even in an analytically-oriented marketing environment.
Analytics and creativity don’t have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, the most successful marketing operations of today tend to be those that can marry the two. Creatives can still serve to:
- help a well-optimized brand stand out from the crowd when their competition is following the same data-driven playbook
- provide innovative, game-changing ideas
- bring flexibility and adaptability to the organization and prevent it from getting stale
Creatives need to evolve their skillsets and the way they approach their work in order to thrive in a numbers-first future and find opportunities with creative staffing agencies. That’s especially true if you hope to be considered in creative marketing executive searches in the future. Here are a few ways you can do just that:
Get Analytical Yourself
This is a classic “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” situation. The trend of growing analytics across all marketing disciplines isn’t going anywhere. You might as well take advantage of it!
In fact, now is an ideal time to sharpen up your data skills. The analytics skill gap in marketing is huge right now.
If you can help an employer cross it while bringing a creative’s perspective and innovative capabilities to the table, you’ve got a unique and highly sought after skillset.
Catching Up with a Resurgent SEO
SEO and traditional creative have often been at odds. Creatives have understandably chafed at the idea of producing work based on appealing to search engine bots rather than tickling the imagination of humans. Just ask any copywriter who’s ever had to sacrifice sentence flow to jam awkward keywords throughout their artfully crafted web copy how they feel about it.
Fortunately, those bots have evolved over time to have tastes much closer to that of web users, and SEO has evolved along with them. Instead of fading in importance over time, it’s probably more important than ever. The internet isn’t getting any less crowded, and there’s only so much room on that first SERP.
Today’s search engines are accounting for more factors than ever, and creatives now need to carefully consider SEO in all their work. Everything from the copy used in social media posts, properly optimized graphics, mobile-friendly content and more all play a crucial role in drawing organic search traffic. Staying on top of SEO best practices will keep a variety of career path opportunities open.
Creative Coding Attracts Creative Recruiters
Most creative deliverables these days end up online and rely on hidden web code to be displayed and formatted properly. So it’s surprising how few creatives know how the technical backend that’s supporting their content works.
You don’t have to be a master code architect in order for your experience and understanding to make a difference. Even a rudimentary understanding of a basic language like HTML can improve the way you collaborate with the development team, enhance your SEO skills, and allow you to make minor changes and updates over time with ease.
Move to More Attributable Creative Fields
One way to avoid coming obsolete is to avoid committing your career down a creative path that depends on being clever and cute rather than demonstrably driving business ROI. Those roles are likely to start drying up over time with fewer and fewer creative recruiters trying to fill them.
For instance, every year there’s a huge to-do in media and the marketing industry about the ads played doing the Super Bowl every year. Experts argue over which brand “won” with the most creative, entertaining commercials.
The creative in those ads is some of the best in the world. Yet there’s still a lot of controversy over how much value they actually bring their brands, especially given their staggering price tags. A recent study showed that 80% of those ads don’t move consumers to actually buy anything, no matter how clever they were. Don’t expect jobs focused on creating that kind of marketing material to last indefinitely.
However, there are plenty of marketing channels and disciplines that lean heavily on creative while also holding the capacity to be tied to ROI. For instance, content marketing, communications, email marketing, and direct response all have both creative and analytical components.