Business development and marketing need creative thinking to develop new ideas so that you sell more at higher prices than your rivals

Put creativity at the heart of your marketing and watch your business grow

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  • Creativity and innovation is key to successful business
  • Organisations that promote creative thinking usually outperform rivals in sales market share and profits
  • New products, new markets and new customers all require a creative approach
  • Creativity is essential in marketing and design
  • Objectivity and unconventional thinking from external sources can help
  • Creative processes such as brainstorming should be used
  • Testing must not be seen as stifling creative work
  • Should customers be asked to make creative choices

The Chartered Institute of Marketing defines marketing as "the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably". Put very simply marketing finds profitable customers. The overall marketing process starts with marketing research and goes through market segmentation, business planning and execution, ending with pre- and post-sales promotional activities.

  • Marketing's creative use of advertising, design and copywriting has generated some of the most memorable campaigns. Who would have thought Meercats would be so successful?
  • On the other hand, there have been some massive failures. 'You are never alone with a Strand' was a huge tobacco flop as was BA's tail fin designs and Royal Mail's 'Consignia' branding.
  • Famous film directors such as Ridley Scott and David Putnam started life in advertising. While Salman Rushdie and Dorothy L Sayers were copywriters.
  • Creativity is innate in some people. Most of us have to learn how to be creative.
  • Most of the well-known 'creatives' in advertising, the media and publishing have had many failures. Notably, J K Rowling was near penniless before her hard work turned into amazing success.
  • Not everybody involved in marketing can be creative. However, most people in advertising or internal creative departments have some creative powers. Very often these powers need help in producing innovative ideas.
  • The British advertising guru, David Ogilvy, has long been recognised as the 'Father of Advertising' His book 'Ogilvy on Advertising' and his paper 'How to create advertising that sells' are regarded as essential reading for making a successful ad campaign.
James Webb Young in 1940 with his book A Technique for Producing Ideas laid out how these creative powers could be helped by a 5 step creative process. If an idea is to be produced, the mind has to follow the 5 steps in a definite order and you cannot go onto the next step before the preceding step is complete. The steps are:
  1. Gather raw material. This is detailed information about your product/service and your customers/prospects. Then with the materials work out how the two relate.
  2. Thoroughly work over the materials in your mind. During this stage, you examine what you have learned by looking at the facts from different angles and experimenting with fitting various ideas together. Write down any ideas that come to you - never mind how crazy the ideas may be.
  3. Let the process incubate Now put the problem completely out of your conscious mind and do something else like read a book or watch a movie. This should stimulate the unconscious creative process.
  4. The idea is born. Then out of nowhere an idea will flash back to you. Just when you are not thinking about the project, such as having a shave or walking the dog, BINGO it turns up. What's more how often have you started to present an idea coming at step 2 when another more creative one suddenly comes to mind. Young submits that this is the way ideas come; after you have stopped searching for them and after a period of rest and relaxation
  5. Shape and develop the idea For any idea to succeed, you must release it out into the world, submit it to criticism, and adapt it as needed.
This may seem a long winded process. But it can all happen in just a few hours. The step 1 material gathering is critical and if this is missing it may take some time (days/weeks) before ideas surface. For most marketing organisations, this is a continuous process with ideas being created as more information and customers are generated. What's more, the original creative team can become stale and new stimuli will be needed. New employees and outside agencies will bring in their new thinking.

How to brief a creative team Although marketing people are not generally creatives, their creative brief should ensure creative solutions do not misfire. A written brief agreed by the communication agency should include:

  • a copy of the outline marketing plan
  • the target market
  • the corporate message
  • the current situation e.g. product launch
  • the timetable
  • the budget

Designing effective creative work is critical to how your business, products and services are seen. Skilled designers can have a serious impact on your business. There may be skills gaps in the management team. At Deve we have knowledge, skills, experience and processes to help you design and implement cost effective marketing activities. To discuss a project of for more information or just to stay on our list (never passed on) submit your details

About Deve

The team at Deve supply be-spoke business development services. We combine the disciplines of common sense marketing and management accounting to help our clients increase sales and improve margins. We have succesfully solved problems for multinationals, SMEs and start-ups. We have a background in client side marketing, commercial finance and West End agency practices. We have experience of many B2C and B2B markets. You can take up our full set of services. Or you can access individual skills in business planning, effective marketing, advertising, PR, market research, copywriting, design and print.

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Deve Limited
St Albans