Level Up Your Creative Strategy With 6 Game Changers
Carolin Rohte is Head of Performance Marketing at YAZIO. In 2013, Carolin started as an intern during her studies working in customer support, content, social media. After four years she decided to dedicate her full-time career to helping users live a healthier lifestyle at YAZIO. Since then, Carolin built up their paid marketing from ground zero and grew a performance team of five people.
Creative is key. That’s what you hear at every conference, blog article, and from every partner. But what exactly does that key look like? Rarely anyone talks about that. And for every key, you have to find the right keyhole, right?
In the past few years, I tried many keys. Now and then, I get the magic of finding the right one. Sometimes it might happen where the key that fits perfectly suddenly begins to jam, or it even snaps off. On rough days, you might even lose your key. To solve those problems, sometimes a little lubricating oil is enough. Other times you need to call the locksmith.
There is a good amount of groundwork you can do to avoid “creative key problems.” Let me help with these six game-changers I implemented in YAZIO’s creative strategy.
1. If Possible, Keep Creative Creation In-house
No offense. No doubt there are creative agencies or 360° agencies who are helpful. From what we experienced at YAZIO: you know your product best. And the same is true when it comes to understanding your audience—what they like, dislike, what they jump at and what they despise. For us, we gained knowledge through a ton of A/B testing. We regularly test different audiences with various creative iterations. Use your knowledge and learnings wisely and hire creative designers (or dedicated freelancers) to work hand-in-hand with your spirit. It’s essential to introduce designers to each platform they are designing creatives for. If your creative designers understand the native look & feel of the platforms, they will create better creatives.
2. Keep Creative Designers Close
Having a creative designer dedicated and firmly anchored in our Paid Marketing Team is a game-changer. First, we are extremely efficient. If a team member has an idea for a creative we think is promising, our creative designer implements it, and we have the split test set up by noon.
Not tomorrow, not next week but the same day. We are flexible with shifting priorities in our team, which would be harder if every task required us to come back a couple of days (or even weeks) later. Secondly, having a creative designer in the team means we have the same mindset. We think in terms of performance—not in terms of style, appeal, beauty, and/or branding. We agree on key questions when drafting a creative, like:
- Does the user understand what product we are trying to sell?
- What is the benefit for the user?
- Is a clear selling-point included?
- Are the first 3 seconds eye-catching enough?
3. Ignore Branding
To unfold the full potential of creatives in paid marketing, you have to forget branding for a while. This might hurt your eyes—even your heart. But it’s worth it.
If you have a strict branding policy, talk with the branding team. In today’s world users are overwhelmed by the noise of the digital space: content, colors, shapes, movement. But sometimes, creatives have to be even more colorful and come in out-of-the-box shapes and movements to stand out. And for the branding team, everything not following corporate identity (CI) is pure horror.
To solve this, work with the brand team to balance branding and creativity. For example, compromise by implementing the logo and adding a fixed end screen. Show them the spaces you are advertising in and let them grab the nativeness of each of your channels. Chances are your branding team understands. One A/B test lets the numbers speak for themselves and talk your team into other tests!
4. Don’t Trust Your Creative Instincts When Testing
You know that gut feeling? The feeling saying, “That will definitely work.” Or vice versa. The quiet and subtle voice telling you to save money for the split test when the results are clear. In 99% of every situation in life, I am a “trust your instinct” type of person. But when it comes to forecasting creative A/B tests, don’t trust your instinct. At YAZIO, we took bets on which creative would win. After several sad rounds of losing, I began voting for the creative my gut instinct told me would never work. My success rate spoke for itself (and that’s where all the fun began). Moral of the story, train your mind to include things you taught yourself to ignore. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities and a shocking amount of testing scenarios.
5. Make Time
Implement a weekly creative flow and involve every part of your team. Set a recurring event in your calendar to remind the team of the deadline for idea submissions. Plus, block a dedicated time of your week to allow yourself to get creative. Sometimes it means browsing the internet for weird search terms, skimming through magazines, or just grabbing a piece of paper and a pen to let your right hemisphere do its thing.
These six tips laid the groundwork and made a difference in our creative game. Luckily for us, we haven’t found the need to call the locksmith! Keep a close eye on the rules and learnings along the creative journey—you must be attentive to when the keys might need a little greasing.
6. Choose Your Key-Market for Testing
If you are part of a global business, you’re probably asking “How do I deal with the huge amount of testing that comes with new ideas?” At YAZIO, we learned that in many countries, people and their perceptions work quite similarly.
We have 2 country buckets when it comes to creatives and creative testing. That’s the US and then the whole rest of the world. We start every A/B test in our key market, Germany, implementing the winning creatives in the whole world. From experience, we assume the testing results will be the same here. When it comes to the U.S., we implemented two different weekly creative flows. Creative flows for the U.S. had U.S. sources and creatives for inspiration. This helped us align with the country’s way of thinking and to understand what they expect.