October 8, 2020

3 CMOs on the New Age of Creative Thinking: Get Analytical, Get Creative, Get Gutsy

By Nova Halliwell

This past year has delivered an unprecedented amount of change for marketing organizations. And yet the general principles of ABX remain the same. It’s how you reach your market of one that now requires more creativity.

Sendoso dedicated the keynote of our recent Out of the Box event to this very topic. Moderated by Sendoso CMO Dan Frohnen, the discussion shared ideas, experiences, and insights from two of the world’s top marketers: SurveyMonkey CMO Leela Srinivasan and 6sense CMO Latane Conant.

Below we recap the three main takeaways from the Out of the Box keynote: Get analytical, Get Creative, and Get Gutsy.

3 Steps for Cultivating Creativity in Marketing

1. Shift to an Analytical Mindset

Many brands understand the importance of creativity. But what does that look like in practice?

“The answer starts with data,” explains Dan. “In order to know where to go next in your ABX strategy, you need to know where you are now. Data will help you find out what’s working, where to iterate, and how to innovate.”

Ultimately, the brand uses analytics to identify what is most important to the customer. From there, it’s possible to shape the ABX strategy around that issue and demonstrate how well the organization understands the customer’s needs, opportunities, goals, and values.

Latane builds her data and analytics strategy around the concept of “finding the red.” A common sales technique, this means identifying red flags within the sales process and addressing them proactively. In marketing, this could include studying conversion rates, cycle times, or ACV to understand what is happening and why.

“Brands need to look at the market: What is the market telling us? What is our ICP? How has it changed?” she explains. “We need to start with insights about the market before engaging in any kind of creative campaign. It’s about demonstrating that there is a market for the idea.”

Leela agrees: “We need to challenge the myth that creativity is subjective and emotional. The reality is you can be data-driven and quantitative in your creative as well.”

She recommends that brands test their creative marketing assets, such as ads, messaging, logos, and names to increase the confidence around campaigns.

2. Get Curious about the ‘Why’

The starting point for all original ideas is curiosity.

“To me, OOTB starts with curiosity,” confirms Leela. “Asking the right questions and gathering the right feedback to understand the why behind the answers is so fundamental.”

She explains that customers are generally curious about two things: 1. What competitors are doing; and 2. What the end-user is thinking or feeling.

“Marketing can add value by tapping into that curiosity about the customer’s peers and end-users,” says Leela. “Be a resource in this area. View the content that you create through the lens of the customer. Will they find this information inspiring, insightful, or useful?”

Latane adds that brands must recognize the conditions required for curiosity and how managing the pandemic’s effects could dampen employees’ creative capacity.

“I’m of the mindset that the best ideas come in your downtime,” she notes. “It’s hard to be creative or curious when you’re stressed. That’s going to be a challenge for all of us, to foster environments where people can rest.”

3. Learn to Trust Your Gut

Being fearless in marketing is yet another concept that’s easy to say but difficult to execute. For Leela, being bold is a balance between taking cues from the data and following your instinct.

“Embracing the data is important,” she acknowledges. “But you also need to have confidence in your judgment—to know that some elements of marketing aren’t going to be measurable. Trust your sixth sense. It tells you something is going to sing.”

From Latane’s point of view, another part of being gutsy is figuring out where to focus and saying no to the rest. At the same time, it’s important for marketers to fully commit to those ideas they select.

“I live by the idea that anything worth doing is worth overdoing,” Latane said. “Sometimes being gutsy means going all in.”

As you build your ABX strategy, remember these three points: Be analytical. Be creative. Be gutsy. And you’ll be impressed with the results.

To watch the full session with Dan, Latane, and Leela on-demand, register here. Schedule a demo below

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