Should direct marketers prioritize creative?

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The gloves are off
The gloves are off

A number of traditional direct marketing companies have recently made top creative hires. Two experts discuss whether service providers should focus on creative talent, or on their strengths.

CONTENDER
CJ Floros
CEO, Perrone Group
More than 15 years of integrated marketing experience

No. Creative talent will always be valuable, but even great creative isn't good enough for today's marketing campaigns to be successful. Clients now demand remarkable content born from a solid strategy and executed with the proper calibration of integrated media. The "new consumer" requires this to give a brand his or her time and attention.

Therefore, direct marketers should focus on hiring top talent in their core area of expertise. They should look for employees who are not myopic in applying their knowledge but rather agnostic to the multichannel media that are now required to solve clients' challenges.

Creativity is now a part of programming content, as well as managing the timing and calibration of media that build a brand following.

However, only content that yields momentum in a campaign and virally navigates its way through multichannel highways will be worthy of the "new consumer's" time. Companies that focus on their internal expertise can create, collect and program "remarkable" content, and deliver the best value to clients.

Direct marketers should further develop their core expertise with human capital and embrace the aforementioned marketing mentality. As a result, clients will derive more value from the services they are investing in. With consolidation happening in the marketplace and firms trying to find revenue in places they traditionally have not focused on, the winners will be companies that stick to their core expertise and deliver value to their clients. l

CONTENDER
Chris Paradysz
Founder and CEO, ParadyszMatera and PM Digital
More than 20 years' marketing experience

Yes. Amid all of the fierce competition in direct marketing, those who create and tell the stories — the imaginative creative voices — are getting their seats at the solution table. And so they should.

Media, marketing or technology won't spark interest if consumers are not first engaged. It's the work of the designers, writers and artists who capture that moment.

Strategy and creative are twins, and they need to live side-by-side, breathing life into ideas. With communication as complicated as it is today, the message must be seamless and integrated. However, that can't happen without intimacy, and intimacy happens best when there is a shared sense of purpose and priority. Although some may argue that advertisers want deeply specialized agencies, we are beholden first to consumer's needs. That connective tissue is what delivers an optimal experience and result.

Making multichannel messages clear and compelling is certainly not for technologists or marketers. Consumers know strained or out-of-context creative instantly. That's partly the reason why I think some social media, like YouTube and MySpace, haven't caught on as commercial venues.

Although some argue that advertisers want deeply specialized agencies, we are beholden first to consumer's needs. That connective tissue is what delivers an optimal experience and result.

The creative voice has to be at the table from the inception of the concept, having a vested interest in the outcome and ensuring that design execution and artful writing are integral to the appeal. l

DMNEWS' DECISION

The reason direct marketers are adding creative talent is easy to understand, because the industry is well-positioned to steal business from advertising agencies in many cases. However, direct marketers should be careful not to lose sight of their core strengths when adding creative talent.

HAVE YOUR SAY E-mail your topic to frank.washkuch@dmnews.com



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