Can Technology Drive Creativity And Productivity? Tech’s Role In Fueling Breakthrough Marketing
By Brendan Farnand, Co-Founder and COO at Knak
Over the last couple of decades, the digital data floodgates have opened. We’ve witnessed a shift in marketing towards data-driven optimization and away from innovation—but at the heart of marketing lies creativity and connection. At Knak, we want to lead a movement against robots coming for marketers’ jobs, but we know we won’t get there without technology. Instead, we believe that tech can be a catalyst for innovation. By investing in it, we can empower our marketers to reach their full potential.
The digital landscape has created incredible opportunities for marketers to reach their audiences in new and unique ways, but every time a new medium pops up, it creates a challenge for marketers to overcome. The role of the marketer itself has undergone a seismic shift. Marketers are no longer simply the creative extension of a company’s sales team. Instead, they’ve become communications consultants, data wizards, social media experts, coding professionals and graphic designers. To keep up with the constant pace of change, modern marketers have had to become corporate chameleons. They adapt to every new thing thrown their way and they’re expanding their skillset far beyond what was once the norm.
And now, we may be pushing our marketing teams beyond their capacity. MarCom professionals haven’t been immune to the productivity crisis we’re seeing across North America. As a matter of fact, data tells us that marketers are actually one of the groups feeling the most strain, with 83.3% reporting burnout. As we cram more jobs and responsibilities into the marketer’s role without taking any away (or providing ways to make things more efficient), we have a direct hand in draining their creativity. Not only that, but B2B marketing can seem devoid of creativity because marketers market to corporations rather than humans — but understanding how to connect with those humans is critical.
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Outdated technologies and inefficient processes are only one piece of the problem. When we ask our marketing teams to create sophisticated campaigns using archaic technology, we’re clamping down on their ability to get creative. We end up eating away at time that could otherwise be spent building other exceptional content. Not only that, but we’re also setting unrealistic expectations to turn around fresh, hand-coded content. Creatives shouldn’t have to have studied computer science to build a powerful campaign. A lack of programming and coding knowledge in marketing is creating a technical skills gap on the email side, so many teams are resorting to old email templates just to maintain the status quo.
To make matters worse, there’s often an unwillingness from management teams to invest in updated technologies. When financial uncertainty is on the horizon, tech budgets are usually the first on the chopping block. At first glance, the cost savings from investing in tech might not be obvious. Meanwhile, companies continue to waste time and resources on outdated technologies and outsourcing. Instead, leaders need to be investing in technology that makes operations more efficient.
The world is moving too quickly to stop innovating. During the pandemic — perhaps the most uncertain time in our lifetime — some small businesses saw huge growth. A recent PwC survey found that 83% of companies are still focusing on growth, rather than the recession. We’re moving quickly, and we need to find ways to empower our marketing teams to keep pace with the rest of our organization’s growth.
So, we’ve laid out the problem, but what’s the solution? Yes, there is an upfront cost, but if we want our marketing teams to thrive then we have to be prepared to invest in time-saving technology. While it may seem counterintuitive, investing in tools to streamline operations can ultimately help to reduce costs.
Newer and more precise technologies will allow marketers to return to their creative roots and empower them to do more with less. If you can shift time-wasting processes away from your staff in a skills shortage, it’s a win-win. Your marketing teams should be focused on creating strategic content, not filling out forms and pushing buttons. When you invest in productive technology, you’re also giving marketers time to collaborate as a team, creating alignment and happiness.
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Marketing leaders should investigate modern technologies that can save money while creating efficiencies. For example, email and landing page creation platforms, programs that improve collaborations and approvals, and technologies that help nurture the client journey. Not only will these technologies reduce the need for technical skills, but they’ll allow marketers to create better campaigns.
When technology does the heavy lifting, we give time back to our marketing teams to focus on what really matters: creativity. With streamlined processes, your teams will have time to make breakthrough campaigns that stand out and pack a punch. They’ll have time to trial, refine, and re-test their campaigns to optimize them to the fullest and deliver better results. They’ll have space to become more efficient and focus on strategic aspects of marketing, rather than just getting by with outdated processes. And ultimately, your business will save money while doing it.
Creativity is at the heart of every game-changing marketing campaign, but we need to give our marketers the tools they need to tap into it. Technology shouldn’t replace marketers. It should replace the tasks that are slowing them down so that their talent can be used where it really matters. Start leveraging automation and technology, and creativity will follow.