Questions on Marketing Creative Strategy

In recent months, the WordPress.com marketing team has been making great progress in creating new creative work to showcase our products and connect them with our current and prospective customers. One of our focus areas is to think more strategically in our creative approach, which leads us to more comprehensive campaign-level thinking.

I’d like to explore an non-exhaustive list of questions as we think about our creative approach. In this exploration, I’ll focus on online media at the moment. I see these questions as guideposts to inform and inspire our creative approach. There are no right or wrong answers. Depending on the campaign, only some or all questions will apply.

Goals:

  • What goals are we trying to accomplish? Awareness on a new product/feature? Direct response? Brand building? A bit of everything?
  • What is the budget?
  • How can we measure the Return on Investment (ROI)?
  • Who are we trying to reach? Are we segmenting our customers so we can speak more directly to their needs from a messaging and creative level?
  • How do we want our customers to feel after seeing the creative?

Creative:

  • What is the key messaging?
  • What kinds of creative approach would be best for this goal and audience?
    • Is it a live action video or photo shoot? Animated Illustrations? Would 3D animations/renders help the creative? Do we use stock photography?
    • Is it a product tour/an explainer video?
    • Are there existing partnerships that we can leverage?
    • Do we commission original art from artists?
    • Do we work with existing customers for testimonials?
    • Do we work with influencers and celebrities?
    • Could this be a socia-first campaign in which we engage our audience socially?
  • What does the customer journey look like from and to the different touchpoints? Is the messaging and visual consistent? Does the narrative follow through?

Media:

  • With the target audience in mind, what channels should we use? Online or offline? Or both?
  • What kinds of offline media can we leverage? Can it be both offline + online? Events? Experiential (VR/AR) activations? Print or Out-Of-Home + AR? Public stunts with online videos? Podcasts? Direct mail?
  • How do we differentiate desktop and mobile users? Should the creative change?
  • What are some mediums that we haven’t thought about that’d be suitable for our campaign?
  • Can we leverage our affiliates partners?
  • What is the campaign cadence? Is it a one-off campaign or an evergreen one?
  • Should we phase out our creative so that our messaging and objective evolve within the same campaign to round out the narrative, and to avoid creative fatigue?

Online:

Digital ads:

  • Where are we placing these ads? High impact publisher networks? Retargeting?
  • Are there specific high traffic publishers we’d like to consider like ESPN, USA Today, New York Times? Do we want to do a homepage takeover for maximum eyeballs and impact? Are we doing rich media ads? Interstitials? Mobile-specific ads? In-app ads?
  • Are there publishers or content partners that we can partner with from a sponsored post or native advertising nature. (This web series is brought to you by WordPress.com)
  • Are there publishers which we can partner with to create extremely tailored advertising with? Ads that let us tie in to the site’s content thus ads could be ultra-contextual.

YouTube:

  • What kinds of ads are we planning to run? Skippable or non-skippable TrueView In-Stream ads? TrueView Discovery ads? Or non-skippable 6-second bumper ads? Pre-roll?
  • If the ads are skippable, can we do something interesting to get all the messaging across before the skip period (i.e. Geico)?
  • How does the creative and narrative evolve in the different durations? Do we want to make different variations of the same duration?
  • Do we use annotations, cards or CTA’s within the videos to entice clickthroughs or callout to features/products, maybe even easter eggs?
  • Do we want to engage with video commenters with a brand voice that promotes greater engagement and brand affinity?

Paid Social ads (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, more…):

  • What kind of ad types do we want to do? Video? Video carousel? Image carousel? Still image? Canvas? Instagram/Facebook/Snapchat stories?
  • Even if the data shows that a specific ad type is lower performing, do we want to challenge that if the creative calls for it?
  • Would the campaign benefit from more niche social networks like Reddit, LinkedIn, Quora, and others?

Organic Social & blogs:

  • How can our organic social accounts and blogs support and amplify our marketing messaging?
  • Can we work with curated influencers to amplify our message?
  • Do we want to engage with our followers with a brand voice that promotes greater engagement and brand affinity?
  • Are there editorial pieces like interviews or product release blog posts we can support our campaign with?
  • Should we plan supporting campaign video content in our social channels and blogs.
  • How do we use Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat stories to engage our current followers and support the creative campaign?
  • Can we use branded (geo)filters for Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat stories?
  • Are there deeper interactions we can do with our followers? # Hashtags? Contests? User-generated creative campaigns?
  • Do we use live-streaming for instant interactions?

Email:

  • Would our creative messaging resonate with our current email subscribers/customers?
  • Are there interesting and creative things we can do with emails campaigns? Signups for countdowns or special promo on a launch? Giveaways?

Homepage + Landing pages:

  • Does the creative messaging need landing pages?
  • Should we use the homepage to promote our campaign?
  • What about other in-product banners/nudges?

Closing thoughts

As a designer and creative, it’s tempting to jump to the high-impact and innovative tactics right away. However, without thinking through the above questions and a sound creative strategy, it’d all fall short. Here’s to thinking more strategically!

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