Draw the line at the studio door!
Creative directors and graphic designers love software and technology, where would they be without Apple Macs and Adobe InDesign software? Well, we all know where they’d be, literally back at the drawing board. However, technology isn’t always beneficial and trying to combine marketing automation and process technologies with graphic design can seriously stifle creativity, as well as have a detrimental impact on originality.
Here’s an example of creative inventiveness being restricted by marketing automation. An international lighting company recently approached us to review and improve the design of their product brochures. The brief was to showcase their products to their best advantage, create visually exciting layouts, provide innovative design to match the products, produce content to meet or exceed their competitors and to ultimately entice customers to buy their products. LF Comms has over ten years experience in designing and localising brochures and catalogues specifically for the lighting industry, so we were well placed to deliver this international marketing collateral brief.
Creativity is stifled with online templates
The lighting company used an integrated marketing technology that connected the various international creative and marketing teams, giving all users the capability to input and edit the content online. The main limitation of this process was lack of creative flexibility. Instead of having the baseline of unrestricted graphic design, our creative team had to design within this highly constrained and regulated online template. Generally, these systems work well where creative design is not the priority. Data-sheets, advertisements, press releases and flyers can be efficiently produced and edited using online templates. But I suggest the line should be drawn for brochures and catalogues where first-class, inspiring creative design is required.
Whilst technologies can bring huge rewards, they can also be highly inflexible. The investments in automated processes made by companies means they’re tied-in to certain working practices that can subsequently prove expensive and over time, turn out not to be best practice. Contracts, licenses, software updates and training also contribute to the hidden cost of marketing ‘tools’.
Artwork adaptation restricted with online tools
The restrictions for this particular company’s technology didn’t stop at creativity. The transcreation of the brochures was also hampered because translation and language versioning also had to be completed within this marketing online technology which ironically, prevented the use of time and cost-reducing, automated artwork software used by language production agencies.
Freedom & flexibility is key
Creative design and speed to market are key issues in the lighting industry. It’s a highly competitive global industry with new, innovative products constantly being launched. Failing to showcase products effectively in marketing collateral, particularly bearing in mind the importance of product design, is an opportunity lost. Failing to deliver supporting marketing as quickly as possible is a competitive advantage missed.
In this tough economic environment, giving yourself the freedom and flexibility to select the best agencies to deliver your global marketing, in terms of inventiveness, creativity, speed to market and cost, is critical. If your integrated marketing technology constrains your creative marketing output, it might be time to review its influence and work beyond it for creative projects.