B2B marketing: Are we outsourcing creativity?

“You need to have not only a strong understanding of digital but also an inherently analytical approach and passion for data and numbers. Combine these attributes and you have a well-rounded marketer.”

I read this quote in B2B Magazine. It was from a senior executive with experience spanning Microsoft, Google and GoDaddy. As his “Top Tip” it seems innocuous enough; but read it again.

What’s missing?

It’s something that’s been bugging me for some time.

Creativity.

It used to be at the core of any good marketer. It’s what attracted me to the industry in the first place. Today, the ability to think creatively and find a unique solution to a business challenge seems secondary to the ability to operationalize its delivery.

And it’s hurting our industry.

The shape of most large [internal] marketing departments has changed beyond recognition in the last ten years.  It was once the case that creative talent stayed close to the brand and marketing operations were outsourced to partner agencies. Today this is reversed. It’s not uncommon to find entire marketing teams focused on operational delivery with strategy, messaging and creative development being delivered by an army of outsourced agencies and consultants.

No one denies that the role of the marketer has changed. Teams have had to adjust in order to stay relevant and new skill-sets have emerged. I’m in no way belittling those skills, or even the intent of the original quote at the top of this post; the ability to analyse data helps us to qualify and quantify some of our decision making and better track success; and the use of marketing automation platforms has helped to scale operations. But let’s not paper over the basics. Technology is there to enable, not to replace what should be core attribute and requirement of any marketing function – the ability to tell a story, to find creative solutions and to have a passion not only for “data and numbers” but words.

 

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