At its core, digital marketing combines the logical and the creative. The field initially drew me in because of those aspects. Taking the analytical and turning it into art, in a way. But if you think digital marketing is all about the KPIs and the conversions and the data…think again.
Creativity is priceless in this role. That said, here are five creative skills I know for a fact supported (and continue to support) my transition from educator to digital marketer.
5 Creative Skills You Need as a Digital Marketer
Digital marketing is infused with creativity. From web design and infographics to videos and written content, your creativity means everything in this role. Here are five creative skills I use every day as a digital marketer:
It seems obvious, right? Even so, you’d be surprised by the number of people who equate “using imagination” to “being unproductive.” In reality, it takes a bit of imagination to first envision the outcomes you want and then initiate plans for your marketing efforts. But cultivating a strategic way of using imagination is what takes us from daydreaming and ideating to planning and doing.
In my role, imagination gets me started on envisioning the outcomes, specifically, what we’re aiming to gain from our marketing efforts. More clients? More reach? More organic traffic? Using my imagination to get me to the planning and integration phases of a thing is what creativity in marketing is all about.
It might sound redundant, but creative problem-solving is everything in digital marketing. I can’t think of a moment when I’m not trying to figure out a way to plan, make, and do something better, and to be better at what I plan, make, and do. Creative problem-solving gives us the wherewithal to overcome challenges and form solutions where there otherwise wouldn’t be any.
Problem-solving is an extremely creative process, too. From testing a solution to improve content performance to opening the lines of communication between teams, problem-solving is an everyday mindset. And I start each day with the goal of trying to solve at least one challenge, no matter how tiny.
3. Kinesthetic Application
Your kinesthetic application (fancy-talk for ‘practice’) is essential to developing the kind of creativity marketing demands. It’s not enough to envision, plan, and innovate. Digital marketing takes doing. Actions are what drive results. Take SEO, for example. It’s a continuous deployment of research, evaluation, testing, guessing, integration, testing again, guessing some more, and you get the idea. Tons of practicing and getting your hands dirty.
Whether it’s sketching, typing, building, speaking, sharing, or showing, you have to put your ideas into practice. Test your theories in type, sketch out your website designs, draft branded graphics, film testimonials. Do the creativity and the creativity will continue to grow. Because if you don’t continuously learn and practice, you stagnate. And digital marketing should never be stagnant, as it’s extremely dynamic.
4. Big-Picture Thinking
A lot of times, I can get lost in the details. But stepping back and reviewing the big picture of the marketing journey is what keeps my creativity flowing. Big-picture thinking gets you envisioning what the future of your marketing strategies should look like. It’s a way of thinking that supports the milestones you set and pass short-term, that add up to the overall achievements of long-term goals.
Faster growth? Higher revenue? More sales? The bigger picture is what I envision FIRST before breaking down the proverbial forest for the trees as I plan my strategies. Digital marketing requires that big-picture thinking. What do you want to accomplish? Build the bigger picture first, THEN split it into the smaller milestones that keep you accountable along the way.
5. Long-Term Vision
Long-term vision goes hand in hand with big-picture thinking. Envisioning what outcomes I want to see gives me the drive to dig in and find the approaches that’ll support my efforts to get to those outcomes. Having a vision is essential to creative thinking in marketing. Without an idea or goal of what you want your business to grow into, you’re setting yourself up for a directionless journey.
Think about it this way: creative skill IS envisioning the future. Whatever the endeavor. Painters have a vision of what they want their finished artwork to be. Digital marketers should be no different. Just like big-picture thinking, long-term vision provides a starting point for establishing the objectives, strategies, and processes you’ll use to bring what you envision to life.
Tips to Level Up Your Creative Skills
There are millions of online guides made for the sole purpose of skill-building. No matter what skill you want to learn and develop, there are tons of resources, tools, and tips to be had. But these are some of the approaches I take that continue to help me build on my creative skills:
📚 Use the Right Resources
Right now is the perfect time to be involved with digital marketing, if that’s your drive. Unlike 20 years ago (or even 10 years ago), technology today makes it easier to find resources for honing your creative skills in marketing. From social media threads and podcasts to webinars and online courses, find the right resources that resonate with you and help expand your creativity.
🎨 Make Some Art
For most people, art is the epitome of creativity. When you think about “creative skills,” what image comes to mind? A painter? Sculptor? A dancer? Fine art and performing art can absolutely be the catalysts to improve your creativity. Even if art isn’t your cup of tea, try it anyway. Make geometric shapes and forms on paper or experiment with colors on a canvas. Take the time to play with your creativity and let it inspire your marketing approaches.
👥️️ Collaborate With Other Creatives
One thing I know is that if I stay inside my head with my own ideas, I have a tendency to lose my creative streaks. But collaboration with other creatives is the cure for me there. Sharing ideas, building on plans, and working with others who are also in a creative mindset is one of the most effective ways to improve your own skills. Brainstorming sessions with other creatives are so beneficial for staying motivated, driven, and inspired. As a digital marketer, creative collaboration is key for aligning my team’s ideas to the goals we want to achieve.
What about you? What creative skills do you feel are essential to a career in digital marketing?
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