Where have all the original ideas gone?

Marketing is a profession that is continually battling between two disparate entities. One is science and the other is creativity. I’m not saying that the two can’t coexist, but fundamentally speaking they tend to be on opposite sides of the spectrum. My theory is that in order for marketing to reach its full potential, there has to be an even blend of the two. If you focus too much on creativity and ignore the science, potential clients won’t follow the course of action you want, resulting in a low lead count. If you take the opposite approach and focus all your energy on the scientific part (i.e. human behavior), you end up with something that isn’t visually appealing enough to draw in people in the first place, leading to—you guessed it—low lead counts.

Since the invention of the internet, there has been a noticeable drop-off in understanding that every business has nuances and differences that even tried and true scientific processes just can’t account for. That’s because they don’t factor in creativity. This is most apparent in the case of social media. Too many times I have gotten into discussions with social media “gurus” who give an outline of “Do ‘a’ then ‘b,’ then ‘c’ and voila! You’re doing marketing!” This formula-based approach most often yields lead results in the single-percentage digits. That’s because they forget to balance science with creativity and originality.

Which brings me back to the original question: Where have all the original ideas gone?

Remember the recent ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? It seemed like everyone participated in this challenge, which was nothing but a simple social media campaign. But the difference was that someone used a tool and some basic scientific principles—and then got all sorts of creative with it. Turns out ALS made some serious strides and raised millions of dollars by that marketing effort.

Think about that when you dive into your next marketing meeting. Think about that when someone gives you a formulaic path towards marketing success. Think creatively about where you can take your marketing first, and then bring in the scientific side of things to maximize its results. Creativity is far from dead—we all just have to get off of easy street, thinking all we have to do is follow a formula. Get cracking—it’s time to stop accepting 2% returns on our marketing investments!