Uniting the Tribes: Content Marketing vs. Content Creative

To content creators, the world of marketing can feel completely dubious. On the brand side, marketing teams can appear to be some kind of mythical body governing within a larger organization, and whose decisions, notes, and revisions are generated, sometimes, out of the clear blue sky. Without a proper understanding of how integrated and content marketing works, content creators are left wondering what goes on in a marketer’s mind when they kill a project or pull a last-minute change on a Friday evening. — And the answer is, a lot.

Tensions between these teams doesn’t need to feel so frustrating and they can be alleviated, like all things, with a little bit of transparency. As a leader in the content space, my instinct is to create dialogue between marketing and creative services teams, through learnings and offsite relationship building.

It’s important for each team to know the other’s pain points and what challenges each face within their own individual workflows.

That way, when one team throws the other a curve ball, everyone knows what the other is facing.

To wit, marketing teams make decisions based on criteria that can be distilled down to a handful of priorities. Testing, is a big one. Often, marketers will test content and messaging in controlled settings in order to optimize for communication that best resonates with your consumer base. It might seem tedious, but if a marketing team requests assets from creative services, say, two Instagram posts, there’s really a lot of thinking that goes into it.

For example:

Instagram post copy #1 says, “Drink in the sun with the ones who matter most.” And with it goes a pic of a beautiful family enjoying a day at the beach where mom is handing out your brand of ice tea.

Instagram post copy #2 says, “Share the fun one on one.” (This is horrible copy.) And it goes a long with a pic of dad toasting his daughter with your ice tea.

These are two emotional situations and there’s no telling which one will perform better with your, specific, audience unless you test it. Marketers partner with outside media agencies to do such testing and given the fluid nature of social media, those partners are expected to react (ideally) in real time.

Heck, data might come back that says neither one of these options work and, uh oh, it’s Friday night and the flight for this post starts Sunday afternoon. Maybe there’s a news story that breaks and, for some reason, a fun family message isn’t a good look when it appears among other posts about some momentous political situation.

Time to get cracking on some new creative. That’s when we content creators get pulled back into to start from scratch on a new direction.

Marketing departments don’t pull creative U-turns out of lack of planning. They do it, because it’s their job.

We all have to stay nimble in this fast-moving marketing environment and with better communication between teams, the divide becomes less of a guessing game and more of a collaborative effort aimed at one, unified goal.

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