In Part 1 we focused on how to enable effective briefing and why it influences every aspect of your campaign, and we explored the value it adds to your marketing operations. We then drew up a quick list of techniques you can follow and items to include in a brief to make it more effective.

In this article, we're taking another step along the path to results-driven creative by taking a look at one major input that has a heavy influence over campaign effectiveness—one that builds on a quality brief to bring you ever closer to marketing success.

Building a Creative Concept

The creative concept helps define the very core of your marketing message. It underpins your campaign content, and encapsulates the major themes to be communicated to your target audience.

It also helps shape the audience's emotive response in line with your brief. And that's extremely important, because in both B2C and B2B marketing channels your target audience is heavily swayed by how your marketing message makes them feel.

A significant percentage of us rely on gut instinct to help us decide between options. And, in many cases, we then rationalize our choices—after the fact.

B2B vs. B2C

Conventional wisdom tells us that business decisions and household purchases spring from different decision making processes. But on closer inspection, it's easy to see that both B2B and B2C purchases stem from a sense of confidence—a feeling that the purchaser is making the right choice.

You can list valid, researched reasons to consider your product or service—and this is common in B2B marketing—but people don't necessarily respond to pure information. They need to act on a combination of logic and emotional intelligence.

So if the persons making the purchase decision doesn't believe that they are making the best possible choice by buying your product or using your service, then why would they? You haven't given them the right reasons to take action.

Put simply, gut instinct plays a vital role in getting, or progressing, a sale. And successful concepts—whether B2B or B2C—are the ones that can tap into buyers' instincts to persuade them that choosing to act is the right thing to do.

So it's safe to say that a sound creative concept is essential to enabling results-driven creative.

The Foundations for Campaign Success

The whole point of building and running a campaign is to instigate a specific change in your target audience's behavior. Whether it's introducing the pain points your solution solves, helping them decide to investigate your product specifically, or driving them to reach out to a reseller, you want your target audience thinking like you do.

So build your creative concept with that end result in mind. Lay out the whole idea, the reasoning, the execution, and the results in a logical progression for all to see. That way, every stakeholder involved has access to a clear and unambiguous guide of what a campaign is aiming to do and how it will achieve those aims.

At a minimum, results-driven creative concepts need to cover the following:

  • Background. Summarize the information surrounding your solution. Show the problems faced by the target market, how the solution meets their challenges, and why that matters, in terms of expected benefits.
  • Theme. Lay out the core ideas that carry your message to the audience. Explain how those elements shape the interpretation of your message.
  • Execution. Explain how the campaign's content and design will work together to deliver the message and persuade the audience to take a particular course of action.
  • Tone. Exhibit a clear personality or attitude through your campaign to the world at large. Describe how this influences the transmission and reception of your key messages.

An Investment in Marketing ROI

In the same way that effective briefing builds stronger campaigns, getting your concepting elements right, at the start, means you spend less time hammering out the details as a project progresses.

As with any marketing decision, you must base your decisions on qualified, relevant data—even in smaller projects—as the concept ultimately forms a point of reference for a host of related decisions. Basing your project on hunches isn't good enough; you need to demonstrate how a concept fits into your broader marketing landscape.

Putting in the effort up front helps pave the way for faster project delivery, smoother executions, and more consistent campaign results.

In the next installment, we take a look at how the way your audience experiences a campaign shapes their response, how mobile media and responsive design fit into our results-driven creative approach, and how you can adapt your creative content to suit your chosen medium—an important consideration for modern digital marketers.

Articles in this four-part series:

1. Results-Driven Marketing Creative in Four Steps, Part 1: Efficient Creative Briefing

2. Results-Driven Marketing Creative in Four Steps, Part 2: Building a Creative Concept

3. Results-Driven Marketing Creative in Four Steps, Part 3: The Right Medium

4. Results-Driven Marketing Creative in Four Steps, Part 4: Matching the Lead Gen Process

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Results-Driven Marketing Creative in Four Steps, Part 2: Building a Creative Concept

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image of Cameron Avery

Cameron Avery is the CEO of Elastic Digital, a channel marketing company and creator of the demand generation platform The Grid. Elastic Digital complements The Grid with a full-service creative agency and team of channel marketing experts.

LinkedIn: Cameron Avery