In the era of big data, marketing can feel a little less creative.
Data is driving more marketing decisions, from when to tweet to which headline is best. Even some of the most creative aspects of marketing, such as website design and blog headlines, are becoming automated.
While many of us think of creativity as being artistic, creativity also allows us to generate ideas, connect disparate ideas, and solve problems.
Even in our data-driven world, there’s still plenty of room for creativity in marketing. Here are seven ways to put your creative instincts to work.
Generate Content Ideas
The growth of content marketing is a boon for creativity. Content marketing requires marketers to generate lots of ideas for blog posts, infographics, social media posts, and other kinds of content. In a recent Kapost survey, B2B marketers estimated that they needed to come up with 67 ideas a quarter to be successful. For modern marketers, generating ideas for content marketing may be a creative outlet.
Solve a Problem
Problem solving is a creative skill, which requires the ability to identify new solutions. Problem solving is also an important skill for marketers, especially as more data about marketing content becomes available. If your email open rates are low or your current content isn’t driving traffic to your website, you’ve got a problem to solve and an opportunity to get creative.
Brainstorm with Your Colleagues
We often imagine the “creative” as an artist painting alone in the studio, but collaboration can foster creativity by encouraging individuals to exchange ideas. Organize a brainstorming session with your colleagues or trade ideas with a coworker to get your creative juices flowing.
Keep a Notebook on Your Nightstand
Sleep seems to be an important component of creativity, for marketers and everyone else. The brain waves generated during the moments between sleep and waking lead to wild thoughts that may spur creativity, according to the authors of The Art of Creativity. They write that Thomas Edison tried to take advantage of this creative window by falling asleep in a chair with metal bearings in his hand. As he nodded off, the bearing dropped into a pie pan below his hand and wake him. He’d write down his thoughts immediately.
You don’t have to sleep with metal bearings in your hand like Edison did, but you may want to keep a notebook next to your bed take advantage of creative thoughts that arise as you drift off to sleep or wake up.
Tackle a Challenge
Some of our most creative moments come when we’re in “the flow,” a place where our skills are challenged, but we’re not so much that we’re overwhelmed or anxious, according to the authors of The Art of Creativity. Put your creativity to work by taking on a challenging project, such as mastering a new marketing tool or implementing mobile advertising for your brand.
Creativity doesn’t just allow us to create completely new ideas, it also allows us to identify new variations to current formulas, the same way a cook might tweak a recipe, as psychologists explain in The Art of Creativity, published in Psychology Today. The ability to come up with variations is increasingly important for marketers, who are often expected to A/B test different versions of content to identify which performs best. This means marketers need to think of multiple ways to write copy or design pages, which is essentially a creative act.
Find New Ways to Use Old Content
Another form of creativity is finding a new use for something that already exists. As marketers are asked to produce more content, finding ways to repurpose content is becoming an important skill that can help marketers lower costs and improve SEO. When you find a way to turn data from your white paper into an infographic, you’re using creativity.
And if you need some more inspiration for repurposing content, check out our complete guide on How to Repurpose Content.