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Why Marketers and Creatives Can’t Get Along (And What They Can Do About It)

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The best marketing campaign is a simple yet clever idea that is proficiently executed. But behind this sleek campaign are shouting matches or passive-aggressive meetings in the conference room, back-and-forth copy and design revisions, and the constant tension between two teams: marketing and creative.

Why is there friction between marketers and creatives?

The friction and struggle to collaborate are understandable. Marketers focus on measurable objectives, while designers often have a vision that cannot be objectively measured or may not fall within the metrics.

Their approach to work also differs since they have different sources of pressure. Marketers need to work within specific constraints, including a tight budget and schedule. They tend to limit the scope of their briefs to a particular demographic to avoid attracting unqualified leads and wasting resources. Simply put, marketers often work within a rigorously structured framework to deliver results to clients. Creatives often have similar constraints. But they are less tuned in to the tangible results. They are more interested in telling stories, engaging the audience through aesthetics, and tapping into people’s emotions.

Typically, creatives and marketing professionals reach a compromise—but usually not without a few snide remarks or a passive-aggressive email. A few simple tweaks, however, can change the dynamics of this relationship. Whether you’re on the marketing or creative side, here’s how you can work more effectively:

Acknowledge that there’s no hierarchy

The working process doesn’t always have to flow from the marketers to the designers in a linear fashion. Designers can inspire the marketing department rather than merely take instructions from them. And if designers need to see the creative briefs first, they should have opportunities to offer suggestions rather than plainly following written instructions. The marketing team should make their doors more open.

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Bring creatives into client discussions

It’s easy to promote a culture of cross-functional collaboration if there’s a willingness from both teams to work together closely at the onset. That’s why there’s value in bringing creatives into client meetings. This way, they can better understand what the client wants to achieve and offer ideas on reaching that goal. And marketers can easily build attainable metrics as they know what’s feasible from the very start.

Develop a streamlined process for revisions

When there’s revision, some designers tend to be impulsive, especially if the instructions aren’t clear. To avoid this, create a streamlined process that documents feedback and conveys the next steps clearly. If arguments arise, everyone can look back at the dialogue and refocus on what really needs to be done. A streamlined feedback process also prevents duplicate tasks and wasted time and effort. In turn, there will be less stress among the two teams, and there will be better relationships all around.

There may be differences among marketers and differences, especially in how they work and the constraints and pressures they have to deal with. But they both have a common goal: reach out to the target consumers. And that goal can only be achieved if they find a way to work together harmoniously.

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