The first invite to arrive through the post was a snakes and ladders board complete with dice and counters. The squares had things on like “have your budget cut” on a snake and “get an assistant” on a ladder. I’m sure you get the idea. The winning square contained the details of the conference. There was nothing else in the envelope beyond this.
The second invitation was a professional and well-presented brochure. It had compelling headlines and sub-headlines, presented the business and celebrity speakers well and highlighted the benefits of each session along with the difference it would make to the success and profitably of your company. It talked about tried and tested techniques and the stellar success the various speakers had achieved using them. It also came with a compelling cover letter.
The second invitation was an excellent piece of marketing. It clearly identified its audience, the copywriting was engaging and persuasive and it had numerous calls to action. In short, this had taken a lot of work and expertise to get right.
In comparison, the first invitation felt like the product of a one hour meeting within the marketing department. Somebody came up with the idea, they quickly outlined what should be printed on the key squares and shipped the whole idea down to the graphic designer.
Needless to say, the second invitation got a much higher response than the first. I suspect many people thought the first invitation was clever and then discarded it. The problem is that clever doesn’t sell well.
Creativity is important in marketing but it is only one part of it. The most important thing is to communicate your key messages well and then use creativity to make the reader sit up and take notice.
A scant 20 years ago, professional design and the needed software was very costly. Anything well-designed really stuck out. Now in a generation where digital cameras can take plenty of acceptable shots and students can afford professional design software, this is less important.
Design, copywriting and professional marketing principles need to ho hand in hand. I sometimes feel that some companies and marketing consultancies take the short cut by focusing on fun design and neglecting the hard work.