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You Keep Using That Word “Creative”…

Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group published a study and infographic, Digital Marketing Dissonance, where 4 in 10 CIOs say their company lacks the support needed for digital marketing projects.

While I don’t doubt that’s accurate, the study then breaks some of the data down into two buckets, IT executives and creative executives. I’m not sure that I believe there’s some correlation between being an IT person or being a creative person. Working in this industry for 25 years, I’ve met some incredible process-driven, security-conscious, top-button-buttoned IT leaders that were amazingly creative.

You Keep Using That Word

You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.

Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride

People sometimes pay me the compliment of being creative. I don’t believe I am. I know many creatives, and they blow me away with their ability to think about creative solutions to difficult issues. That does not mean I’m not successful, though. However, my means of coming up with a solution isn’t through creativity but tenacity. I’ve built a reputation for figuring out how to make things work with every company I’ve worked with.

There are tons of analogies like this in history. Many successful people will tell you that it wasn’t their ability to come up with a great solution; it was that they logically troubleshot and worked through scenarios over and over until they came up with a solution. Many times, those solutions come through having a robust and knowledgeable network. When we meet with a group, it’s always amazing how we can arrive at creative solutions. Were we creative? Or was it simply a combination of resources that provided the right ingredients for a creative solution to arise? I think it’s the latter.

Thankfully, persistence is a great substitute for talent.

Steve Martin, Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life

Many years ago, I was told there are three types of employees: lifters, pushers, and pullers. Some companies believe they must have all lifters – creative thinkers constantly providing new solutions or ideas. These people can be incredibly creative. However, if you’re always coming up with new ideas, you lack the resources to establish the solutions and processes that must be fully vetted and put into production.

Having leaders pull the team to goals and pushers drive them there is just as important. So, do you need creative executives? Or do you need a combination of executives who will lift, pull, and push projects forward so the company can realize its vision? Tenacity honestly gets my vote over creativity any day.

Digital Marketing Creativity

Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is CMO of OpenINSIGHTS and the founder of the Martech Zone. Douglas has helped dozens of successful MarTech startups, has assisted in the due diligence of over $5 bil in Martech acquisitions and investments, and continues to assist companies in implementing and automating their sales and marketing strategies. Douglas is an internationally recognized digital transformation and MarTech expert and speaker. Douglas is also a published author of a Dummie's guide and a business leadership book.

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