By Doug Logan
Let’s be clear about one thing: it’s creative and results, not versus.
We don’t win a lot of flashy awards. No golden lions take residence in our office. No silver springs to relax on either. Not even one giant pencil to serve as a paperweight (whatever that is). Don’t get me wrong -- there’s nothing wrong with winning awards. Some clients are all about brand awareness and have massive budgets to do fun and experimental work that engages people's eyeballs and garners a few likes. There are several agencies that accel at that kind of work–hats off to them. We define success for our clients a little differently.
The Creative Side
Listen, the new Star Wars movie was amazing. I saw it twice, which was below the average of other nerds in the office, but for me to see a movie in the theaters more than once is saying something. The “Lightsaber Escape” website was just one of the multitude of microsites that Lucas -- sorry, Disney -- produced to hype the upcoming blockbuster. The microsite features a second screen experience where your phone doubles as a lightsaber. It’s super cool and only took me 2:04 to beat (go ahead and try to beat that).
You’re probably wondering “what could he possibly see wrong with this website?” The answer is absolutely nothing. It’s a great website. It won a lot of awards and I am sure that all three agencies and Google are really proud of it.
The problem is that this over the top site is really only fitting for a brand like Star Wars. And while I am sure there were KPIs, they probably looked something like:
- How many people played the game?
- How many times did someone play the game?
- How many people shared their score on Facebook?
There’s nothing wrong with those KPIs, but what you don’t see are goals like “how many people checked for showtimes?” or better yet “how many people played the game and then bought tickets?”. That’s because experiential sites like this aren’t designed to drive goals like that. They make up just one piece of a larger galaxy -- sorry, I couldn’t resist -- of advertising campaigns.
That’s great, but what about the rest of us? What about the little guys with the smaller-than-Disney budgets that still have to take on competitors the size of the Death Star? Well, aside from the fact that these are the kind of clients we love and have aptly named “Courageous Brands” this fully creative approach is just not right for them.
The Results Side
On the other end of the spectrum lie the results. The metrics. The goals. The KPIs. The ROI. The “get us on the first page of Google and make sure our CPL is 20% lower than last quarter”. The math is so numbing it makes Common Core Math look like Uno. Unlike the agencies we spoke of before, we have very little content for the likes of these. Sacrificing everything for the sake of moving the needle, creative is of no concern as long as the leads keep flowing.
I resisted the urge to include an example site for this side of the spectrum. But if you insist on a visual just hop on over to Google and type in “cheap divorce lawyers”, click on the first ad you see and I think you will get the point. These sites sacrifice everything for the sake of just one more conversion. Brand image be damned, they just want one more lead.
Those brands just looking for results will keep a keen eye on every dime spent and every click generated. Some of the KPIs they may be tracking could include:
- What’s the CTR of our PPC ads?
- What’s the keyword density of the page?
- What’s our CPL and CPA costs?
While there is nothing inherently wrong with any of those metrics, there is a problem when those are the only metrics you care about.
We aren’t talking about extreme opposites here. It’s not a balance between the light side and the dark. Good versus evil. Luke versus Vader. Think of it more as peanut butter and jelly: two amazing things that are great by themselves but taste better together.
When you start to think of creativity and results together you might start thinking about your goals more like this:
- How can we create experiences that drive brand awareness while increasing sales?
- What’s the lowest CPL we can achieve without sacrificing our brand image?
- How can we create content that aligns with our brand voice and is great for SEO?
- Is this campaign authentic to who we are or are we just trying to push the needle?
Creativity & results are two great things that are just better together. Think of it as having your cake and eating too.