How to Be a Creative Inspiration in 2017


B2B marketing is stuck in a rut. Tired of the “same old, same old”? The New Year is a great time to infuse more creative thinking into your marketing planning.

Here are a few key steps that can help you engage your team and inspire them to generate original ideas. 


STEP 1: Reconnect with Your Brand and Target Audience

If you believe your company’s marketing ideas have been lacking a certain creative spark lately, then it’s quite possible your team is losing sight of the big picture as they deal with the craziness of the day-to-day. It happens.

Don’t worry. Just go back to the basics.

Print your brand statement.

Print out your brand mission or brand statement in a large, highly visible format. Reconnect with your team on its meaning. Though they’ll probably never admit it to you, some of your team members may be surprised by what they read in that statement.

Don’t have a brand statement? That’s like exploring the wilderness without a compass. Before you take another step, nail down what you’re about in a concise statement.

Write up a 50-word summary of the state of your market and share with your team.

Over the years, we’ve heard, "I'm not sure what's going on out there" far too many times from employees in large marketing organizations. Executive leadership teams often make the problem worse by neglecting to include employees in the big picture. 

Do the opposite. Get your team members together and engage them on the outlook for 2017: What's changed over the past year? What are our major market influences? How do our business objectives align with our marketing objectives? Where are the gaps?

You’ll find that your team members crave a big-picture understanding of your business—and have totally unique perspectives to contribute to the conversation. Take careful notes. When your discussion is finished, craft your “state of the market” summary and share it with everyone.

Refresh and hone your target audience profiles.

Have you written a persona doc for each group within your target audience? Has your audience changed—even slightly—in terms of age, gender, budget, or decision-making power? Do you understand what motivates your audience, what they want most personally and professionally, and where their biggest pain points lie?

If you've already dialed this in, give yourself a pat on the back. If not, don't put it off until June—get it right in January. 

STEP 2: Brainstorm with Your Team Early in The Year

Is it just us, or is B2B marketing all starting to sound the same? The overall focus on following best practices is intimidating marketing organizations into producing a lot of “me too” content. It's a common trap for even the most experienced marketer—but it’s one you can avoid.

Call a brainstorming meeting.

You’re surrounded by experts who want to contribute. Having a healthy, no-judgment ideation session can produce some outside-the-box ideas. So, put together a list of your main challenges and preliminary ideas, and get the team together. Above all, make the session fun.

Come up with new offers.

Look, we’ve got nothing against white papers. They work. But could a different offer work even better?

For B2B, the New Year is a great time to totally revamp your offers for lead generation and demand generation campaigns. By repacking offers into more interesting concepts, you could see a spike in your response rates. Assign your creative team to come up with new titles, combinations, and artwork for campaigns—or include your whole marketing team in the exercise. 

STEP 3: Update Your Creative Brief

If you don't have a creative brief for your team, start the New Year by developing one. If you already have a brief, take this opportunity to tighten it up. Most creative briefs are cumbersome to fill out and have more details than the creative team needs or wants.

At Anderson Creative, we’ve put together a new creative brief template that bucks conventional models. It’s lean, edgy, and fun. While it gathers all the essential information for any marketing project, it also asks unusual questions to inspire a new level of creative thinking for everyone.

We hope these ideas help lead to even more creative thinking throughout 2017. Let us know how it goes!