Imagination and creativity sit at the core of any agency worth its salt. Of course, creativity is expected when it comes to images, ad design, web design and the words that surround these graphics. But real agency creativity includes the development of customised marketing strategies, innovative solutions, unique ways to take advantage of opportunities… essentially, being inspired with every marketing activity.
According to our clients, and backed up by a recently conducted survey, it's 'out of the box' thinking that separates Vertical from the pack. It's the number one reason why clients rate Vertical's abilities as excellent.
Of course, we like to think of it as 'logical' creativity, which means we only follow creative solutions that make sense in B2B technology marketing. The creative pursuit of client's goals is the essence of what we do and who we are, and the primary reason why clients turn to us and stay with us year after year.
We hear so often that B2B advertising is boring when compared to consumer campaigns. That's unfair and misses the point. It's easy to do a flashy design using photos of young women, fast cars and exotic locations.
But designing for B2B takes a more creative approach, one that's often difficult for some designers to grasp. The goal is to present state-of-the-art equipment, technology and multi-faceted services in a way that synthesises the message and conveys the idea but doesn't 'dumb down' the complexity. To be able to do this is real B2B creativity. It requires the designer to understand the equipment, what it does, the benefits, and how it changes industries and markets.
In their own way, B2B products are just as beautiful in form and function as the latest Milan haute couture. It only takes a creative eye and some technical understanding to see it. We feel lucky to have found designers who have proven time and again their art and craft in the B2B marketplace.
Vertical's monthly creative Think Tank is a time we set aside to explore new ideas from every possible angle. And because there's no 'ticking, billing clock' at Vertical this time isn't charged to clients: it's simply part of our job to explore new concepts and every alternative. It's our commitment to clients and the basis for their faith and trust in our work.
Vertical is a privately-owned company with no board of directors. So what does that have to do with creativity? A lot, actually. We don't have to make a certain profit set by a finance director, running the business and a balance sheet. We have the time and freedom to think and create… spending time on each account to consider better, more creative ways to address B2B marketing opportunities.
Most B2B companies have customers across the globe, in countries as diverse as Sri Lanka, Slovakia and Brazil. That means marketing materials need to be relevant in each of these markets. There are usually cultural, language and industry sensitivities that must be considered.
We understand this, and its why we've designed advertising and marketing communications pieces that have been successful in more than 40 countries worldwide.
In the best B2B agencies a few things are certain. First of all, there's no A team or B team - everyone should work on every account whenever it's appropriate: your account manager must be able to intelligently call on the resources (internal and external) of the entire agency if needed.
Account managers should understand your technology and markets… there's no long education process, no false starts, no silly mistakes. It's knowledge and experience that allow account managers to be creative in their solutions - using every opportunity to get the most impact for every marketing pound spent.
Intelligent, creative account management is what separates great agencies from average ones. Need we say it? We believe we have the best, most creative account managers in the business.
Consider Apple. When you buy anything from them, the look and feel of the packaging, the brochures, the instructions, you name it, reflect the company's flair and customer commitment. You can tell it's Apple by looking at it, touching it, seeing the creativity. Apple understands that either everything shows your best side, your attention to detail and your style, or it's time and money wasted.
Consequently, a primary goal of any marketing strategy should be a complete review of the communications toolkit. Is the information consistent and correct, is it what your sales team need to intrigue prospects, show your USP and close the deal? Is the quality up to your standards? Do the materials in the toolkit reflect the image, style and superiority of your company? In short, have you applied the same creativity to 'everyday' materials that you have with your website or print advertising?
Simply put, creativity can't be hit and miss.