The Wrong Way to Right

By Justin Watkins - Founder & Creative Strategist at Native Digital

There’s right way to do marketing. It has something to do with developing a strategic framework, pulling insights from data, following best practices, testing, measuring, optimizing. Our team at Native Digital follows all of these steps just like many other marketing firms and in-house teams. Which leads me to my key point: If we’re all following the same steps, what’s setting us apart?

  • Is it the framework?
  • Better data sources?
  • Implementing the best best practices?
  • More measurement tools?

Maybe. From our standpoint it comes down to two basic things:


Do it Right: Connect Data to Creative

First, it’s the ability for our number-crunching, framework-wielding strategists to connect closely with our intuition-having, art-inspired creatives. Why? Because in advertising, it’s not science and it’s not art—it’s both of them. Plenty of organizations have talent. Few have talent that work well between their silos.

What can we learn from this? It means learn about the teams and processes that come before and after you. Architect your concerns and questions into the entire process. Make sure everyone can contribute to the hypothesis before the methodology is set.

The outcome is a healthy blend of data-driven insights to support creative intuition. Which leads me to the second point:


Do it wrong: Bend the Rules

If everyone does it exactly right then we all look the same, sound the same, get ignored the same. We are all savvy consumers. We can smell advertising a mile away and we don’t like to be sold to.

We use a short checklist to grade our creative ideas at the end of brainstorms. It’s not an easy checklist to pass. In fact, most ideas flunk it, which is the point. It forces us to keep pushing ideas until they’ll work. Ironically, the last checkpoint on the list asks us, “What can we do wrong? What best practice can be ignored?”

That wasn’t always the last question on our list. Originally it asked, “Is it unexpected?”

Great question. Unexpected work gets attention. But what’s unexpected?

After much thinking, we realized it was just doing something wrong. Like I said, we’re all savvy consumers. When something is done wrong, we notice.

Now, let’s be clear: the whole thing can’t be wrong. That’s just messy. But what if 10% or 20% was purposefully wrong?

On March 2nd at Social Media Club KC I’ll elaborate on what this means exactly. After this session you’ll be able to:

  • Create a checklist for evaluating your creative ideas
  • See examples of content that succeeded by doing it wrong
  • Convince colleagues that rule bending is more than being rebellious, it’s key to capturing attention

See you then. Until then, if you have ideas on this, let us know @nativedigital_