Being creative in DM doesn’t have to hurt.

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I had a dream the other night. It’s the type of dream most copywriters and designers have on a regular basis. We dream of ourselves being creative without limitations, without marketing reps, clients, or the guy who waters the plants  offering advice. Okay, back to reality. In order to produce the best performing creative possible, we need to learn how to communicate well with those who don’t write and design for a living. Over the years, I’ve developed a few strategies that have worked well.

Educate. When the marketing rep who got an A in high school English tells a copywriter that they can’t end a sentence with a preposition, they’re just unaware that in DM, high school rules don’t apply. In fact, they’re frowned upon. I keep a well-stocked library of DM creative books and periodicals close by to let the people I work with know that I’m not just making this stuff up.

Show results. When clients start making unwarranted changes to creative, it’s important to remind them that colors and words shouldn’t be their focus – results should be. If you could deliver strong creative that performed brilliantly, do you really think they would care about what fonts and colors you used? The bottom line is the bottom line.

Knock heads. One of the most important things for creatives to communicate is that it doesn’t matter what any of us think. It only matters what the potential customer thinks. A true DM copywriter or designer has the ability to get inside a customer’s head and come up with creative that will be irresistible to that person. When others understand this, they also realize that their personal likes and dislikes really have no place.

Rule the world. Not. Creatives (myself included) can sometimes get high and mighty about what we have to offer. It is imperative that we present ourselves as a resource that is focused on producing creative that performs. Once our peers understand this, constructive relationships flourish.

bschwartz@quinstreet.com

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