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Is analytics or creativity more important?

The demands of the direct marketing industry require both out-of-the-box thinking and the capacity to review results and adjust spend. Experts debate which to prioritize when recruiting new employees.

David Asseoff
Founder of Memolink.com
More than 15 years of Internet marketing experience

Most marketers would agree that they live for measurable results. But creativity is an intangible piece of the direct marketing puzzle. Today’s mar­keting environment is very fast-paced, and others are quick to copycat. Take a look at the social networking industry, for example. Everyone is scrambling to create their own network — we’ve seen MySpace, Facebook and now Google.

Out-of-the-box thinking and creative concepts get businesses noticed and rec­ognized as innovators. When recruiting employees for marketing positions, we strongly look for individuals willing to take risks. Some of the most creative hires are from other positions or fields because they have a fresh perspective. Internally, we build cross-functional teams for brainstorming marketing campaigns, knowledge sharing and open debate. We’ve found that a deeper understanding of all company product lines, promotions and campaigns usually translates to being more open about new ideas and problem solving.

While analytics are great for influenc­ing or making decisions, creativity is — and should be — at the root of all marketing campaigns. The next genera­tion of successful direct marketers will be individuals who are empowered to take risks, and are subsequently rewarded both financially (increased budgets) and with technical resources, after they’ve proven they are creative in their approach to growing the business.

Yael Yekutiel-Keren
Director of marketing and PR, Traffiq
10 years of direct marketing experience

Above any technical or creative skills, the most valuable marketer has the ability to understand the wider, high-level business goals and market­ing’s role in achieving them.

Executives at direct marketing compa­nies must be able to segment and target audience demographics and analyze a campaign’s results on the fly and at the end of a campaign. This requires more than straightforward math abilities — because of the wide array of easy-to-use data tracking and statistical tools, a good candidate is more of an analyst.

A good direct marketer will under­stand the kind of environment that his or her target lives and works in. Based on that, he or she is able to create a mes­sage that the target can relate to and will act upon. Common sense and sensitivity to the market are necessary for success­ful job candidates. These skills can be honed and grown with experience.

I often see candidates come in with a detailed list of the reporting tools and technical skills that they have. This is much less appealing than a demon­strated ability to think on one’s feet. Training on a reporting tool is fairly standard and relatively cost-effective; therefore, it is not the mathematical abil­ity to use the tools that is so powerful but instead the ability to apply them to the broader goals. A direct marketer must be able to analyze the wider mar­ketplace and understand ways that the product can reach new audiences.


Asseoff and Yekutiel-Keren both note that there are certain innate quali­ties that successful marketers have. Asseoff contends innovation is key, while Yekutiel-Keren promotes a “big-picture” view grounded in analytical common sense. One might argue that both are required; however, true game-changing creativity is rare and should be celebrated and rewarded.

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