Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The art of creating art (in marketing)

Modern marketing is half science half art.

Science is easy. Can’t argue with MQL/SQL conversion rates, or RPM, or CPL (well actually you can, but that’s a topic for another blog post…).

When it gets to art, the creative process can quickly turn into a political/psychological ordeal. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone is an expert. The CEO’s wife thinks the new logo is revolting. The VP of Sales dismisses the new website design as “lame”.

With so many opinionated and often vocal stakeholders, the result is compromise. And how can you do something remarkable when you need to appease the “committee”? Well, you can’t.

Over the years I’ve been involved in creating a fairly large number of new websites, presentations, demos, logos and user interfaces. I have taken two very different approaches:

1. Get only a handful of peers involved in the design process. The good: mostly friction-free and faster cycles. The bad: some of those not involved may be upset and will likely hate whatever comes out.


2. Get a larger group of peers involved. The good: everyone feels they’re a part of the process, so you’re more likely to get support. The bad: the process might be sluggish, and when you choose to not accept people’s comments, they’ll hate whatever comes out…

What’s a better (or least-worst) approach? I quite honestly don’t know.

Navigating the design process without making too many professional compromises is art in itself. It requires you to be a leader, an expert, a politician, a psychologist, and most importantly, thick-skinned. Whatever you do, don't forget that the worst feedback is no feedback