This is a guest post by Brian Halligan. Over the last few months I’ve had the privilege of getting to know Brian, the co-founder and CEO of HubSpot, author of “Inbound Marketing: Get Found in Google, Blogs, and Social Media,” and an EIR at MIT. You might think that a “Modern MadMen,” as Brian refers to me, and an inbound marketer might not have a lot in common. But in fact we do. We share an understanding of how much has changed and just what it takes to market in the new age. Enjoy.
Are creative marketing types a dying breed?
By Brian Halligan
I have been thinking about my mom and dad sitting on their couch in 1979 watching “Dynasty” and being interrupted five minutes into it by an Irish Spring soap ad. Something remarkable happened after that ad played: my dad actually spoke with my mom about soap and they decided to switch from Dove to Irish Spring! I think of my parents today sitting on their couch watching “The Office” and being interrupted 5 minutes in by an Irish Spring ad. Something very different happens this time: dad grabs the clicker and either fast-forwards or turns to ESPN.
In those pre-historic times before the age of cable, DVR’s, and clickers, I might argue that the key factors in order of marketing importance were time slot, segmentation match with the product to the audience, and then creativity/quality of the advertisement itself. In other words, it was important for the advertisement to be creative/good, but mom and dad were going to hear the message by hook or by crook.
I have heard many people argue that creative marketing types are becoming obsolete. I don’t buy it. In fact, I think the creative marketing type is 10x more important today than it was 30 years ago when you had mom and dad captive on the couch.
To get mom and dad’s attention today, you need to create remarkable content. I use that word “remarkable” because the content has to be so good that it compels other users, content creators and web site owners to remark about it in the form of links back to it. These links inform Google of how remarkable the content is which drives you up the rankings. If the content is really remarkable, it will spread virally through sites like Twitter. Rather than creating a 30-second “spot” for a captive mom and dad, the great creative types today are creating remarkable content that is essentially voted on by the web community through links which will ultimately get it in front of mom and dad if it is deemed worthy. This is really hard and the content needs to be fantastic to spread through a skeptical, non-captive audience.
There’s talk that the quant jocks are taking over marketing, but I think creative types are more important than ever and that the very best creative types who can get through the clutter will be in high demand as we move to a new era of marketing.
I know that I agree with Brian. I have written about it more than once. But what is and who is the “creative type” Brian refers to today? What are your thoughts? Are we only creating for Google’s algorithm, or to surprise and delight our community? Or is it the same?