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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 kind of 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, 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 actually 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, it’s through tenacity. I’ve built a reputation on figuring out how to make things work with every company that 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 coming up with a solution. Many times, those solutions come through having a powerful and knowledgeable network. When we meet with a group, it’s always amazing how we are able to 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 that there are three types of employees, lifters, pushers and pullers. Some companies believe it’s imperative that they have all lifters – creative thinkers that are 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 you need to establish the solutions and processes that need to be fully vetted and put into production.

Having leaders pulling the team to goals and having pushers that are driving there is just as important. So, do you really need creative executives? Or do you need a combination of executives that are going to 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 the founder of the Martech Zone and a recognized expert on digital transformation. Douglas has helped start several successful MarTech startups, has assisted in the due diligence of over $5 bil in Martech acquisitions and investments, and continues to launch his own platforms and services. He's a co-founder of Highbridge, a digital transformation consulting firm. Douglas is also a published author of a Dummie's guide and a business leadership book.

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