As a marketing agency, ongoing education is of vital importance. And though we love our Seth Godin, Kissmetrics, and other name-dropping content curators, we need other sources of imagination. Learning marketing is not about the tools in of themselves. The how-to articles are plenty. For true creativity, the art, for the challenges, here is what inspires us.
Psychology – This is where I think we, as an agency, differentiate. The conversation is not about click-through rate, or ability to navigate Facebook, those are merely tools. Without the right angle, or pitch, or the end consumer needs, what good are those skills? The implementation is important but can be accomplished. The art of marketing, and what separates the good from bad, is the psychological study of marketing and inspiration drawn from real life case studies.
There are many great areas to read about psychology today. You can also watch it. Youtube has some great videos of Jordan Peterson debating with people to bring out both sides of an argument without a lengthy read. Several Youtube channels are dedicated to short 2 min overviews of the latest findings and theories. But regardless of where you go, you can always learn something about how humans think and more relationship touch points.
Street Art – I follow a few artists on Twitter. (Follow us on Twitter to see who) They use the natural surroundings to help guide their design. I love this as context, to which I feel, is so much a part of the overall marketing plan. To see how someone interacts aesthetically with the tree, hydrant, window, or garbage can is just amazing to see. Taking all the elements and then see what is not visible to show the world the image in your mind is astounding art. JRich attempts the same concepts in its amazing endeavors, and I hope that never ends.
Architecture – I just love the imagination of architecture in multiple forms. Architecture, when done well, is not just the lines, but also the light, materials, space, and complexity. It all works together. And like marketing, it is rarely in a vacuum by itself. It needs all factors considered for an effective bottom line. This is a dangerous rabbit hole though, fair warning. I really got into tiny homes built in the woods off the grid. So guard your time, as it is so much more fun than I thought. My admiration for architects is much higher now.
Spam – I like reading my spam. As the old saying goes, “they wouldn’t do it if it didn’t work”. I don’t believe that all of it is good or the right thing to do, but I do like to see how they position things, what must be working and the language they use: what synonyms, colors, call to action, formal or informal, prices, etc., it is all there to be learned and applied. And not only for language and what you actually see, but when they send it, to which audience, timing or season, as well as metadata. There is a lot to learn from others’ attempts at marketing.
A handful of friends – There is something to be said for a longer conversation. I often feel as though “efficiency” of things has devalued long form communication. And it should not. I have many friends I love to bounce ideas off of, dream with, think out loud in long rambles, and search for what could be. These conversations over a long lunch or drinks into the night, produce some of the most invigorating ideas I have. Do not neglect relationships for online social media. The best conversations are the ones that happen over long periods of time, or months on end. An idea is not just magically made in a split second. It is meditated on and challenged by many, until it forms in beauty before you.
When you need inspiration as a marketer, don’t just read marketing blogs. If everyone is reading it then it won’t work. Get your own inspiration and push into real creativity, not “best practices”. For an agency, inspiration is as exciting as the results itself.