Luckily, there are some easy questions marketers can ask to determine whether it’s a reality or just a clever sales tactic from their agency.
Ask yourselves the following:
I assume 100% of marketing executives want ‘better’ advertising creative. I know I do. But in a results-driven world, we need to ask ourselves how is the service we’re contemplating going to be better than the alternatives. There are really only two paths to this: (1) Substantially better creative talent across the vendor org, or (2) A unique technology platform that somehow makes the people who use it perform better than they would through traditional, low-tech methods.
Starting with the former, in my experience, most creative providers have a mix of very talented people and others who add less value. As a client, the service you get can be highly dependent upon the team that gets assigned to you, their fit for your particular product, and their current creative mood. Unless the company is paying twice the salary rates of everyone else, the chance that they have better people than their competitors is not very high, although they will certainly all claim to have the best talent and the most awards. This makes relying on Option One a crapshoot at best.
This leaves only Option Two as a consistent path to truly better creative service. So, ask yourself, what unique technology platform is this vendor using to deliver differentiated creative service? In VidMob’s case, we have spent the better part of five years and tens of millions of dollars building a technology platform to do exactly this (and much more):
● Talent Mapping & Matching: Match brands up with the perfect creative talent for each job—based on trackable skill and performance attributes.
● Training Systems: On-going learning/education tools to ensure that those creatives understand the up-to-the-minute best practices of each platform/format that they’re creating for.
● Digital Asset Storage: Integrations into every major cloud storage platform so that moving terabytes of media around is seamless and easy.
● Creative Analytics: Sophisticated AI/ML creative analytics tools that unpack the creative best practices for each brand (because there are no universal best practices!) and arm the creatives with this information before they begin working.
● Human + AI Systems: And after ads launch, providing “creative data” back to those creators, so that they can see what creative attributes are driving performance and can enhance creative on an ongoing basis, thus turning the decay curve upside down.
Oh, and one more thing—because we use a technology platform to change the nature of work (and the nature of corporate overhead), VidMob can pay its creators more, thus actually leveraging the benefits of Option One as well. But do not be fooled, without a technology platform, it is simply not possible to deliver ‘better’ on any consistent basis.
Everything in the world happens faster today. Trends begin and end before many of us know they even existed. Marketing opportunities come and go. The windows are shorter than ever and, only the most agile organizations, are able to consistently participate in the moment. For these organizations, there is huge leverage in the digital channels. But most marketing organizations find themselves on the outside looking in, wanting to become more agile, wanting to become faster, without the capability to do so.
VidMob’s Collaborative Draft Review Screen
But like ‘better’ performance, there are only two paths to consistently faster service: (1) Having a team of people constantly at the ready, with nothing on their plate and who can work around the clock until you get what you need, or (2) Having a unique workflow platform that is specifically designed to eliminate all of the friction of the creative process, thus making agility normal operating procedure. And, like above, VidMob has spent the better part of five years and tens of millions of dollars building a now multiple-award-winning workflow platform that is designed to do exactly this (and much more):
● Collaboration Tools: A collaboration platform that enables marketing teams to review drafts of creative together, on native mobile and desktop platforms, and instantly provide feedback directly to creators.
● Smart Asset Repository: A powerful Asset Locker so that brands only have to upload brand assets (font schemes, brand bibles, logos, etc.) once, and they become available for the right projects and not for others.
● Visual Search Technology: An Agile Search feature that uses AI-based computer vision to enable brands to search their entire library of existing content to find relevant clips that can be re-used in new creative, thus dramatically reducing the need for repetitive and time-consuming original production.
● Mobile/Digital Platform Integrations: Direct integrations into the Ads APIs of every major platform so that as soon as an ad is complete, with a single click you can add them to every appropriate ad account.
● Creative Performance Data: Direct integrations into the performance side of the Ads APIs of every major platform so that you can see creative performance data immediately after launch, share it with the original creator and make data-informed enhancements in real-time.
Make no mistake about it, without building the creative equivalent of a sweatshop, there is no way to deliver materially ‘faster’ service without a technology platform that is designed specifically to do that task.
There is not a marketer on the planet who does not want to shift budget from non-working to working. But how can you consistently reduce the cost of creative development, while maintaining or, ideally, improving marketing performance? As with ‘better’ and ‘faster,’ there are really only two paths to achieving this goal: (1) Use cheaper, lower-skilled labor, or (2) Use technology in ways which allow you to bring efficiencies to the same caliber labor.
When it comes to building emotionally resonant media that is going to represent a brand effectively in a crowded world, we have not seen good results with low-cost labor. Additionally, at VidMob, we feel a moral imperative to use services that pay fair living wages and maintain a fundamental respect for creative talent. So that only leaves Option Two.
Luckily, VidMob has built a technology platform to allow brands to access a managed marketplace that is designed to do exactly this. By eliminating nearly all of the unnecessary overhead of traditional creative operations, we are able to offer world-class talent to our clients at dramatically reduced costs, while often paying rates that are better than historical precedents.
● Reduce/Reuse/Recycle: Our computer vision-powered Agile Search makes every frame in your library of assets instantly accessible, thus reducing the need for costly original production.
● Efficiency: Collaboration tools reduce the number of draft revisions and get clients to approved assets faster. Fewer drafts mean less work means less cost.
● Distributed Creative Talent: Our talent works remotely. You don’t have to pay for their marble offices on Madison Ave or in Mayfair, their desks, phones or air-conditioning bills. Additionally, our talent often doesn’t live in big cities. In those instances, they can charge less because their cost of living is lower.
● Aligned Business Models: Because VidMob is fundamentally a technology company, we don’t bill on hourly rates; which means we can pass through the benefits of speed and quality to our clients. Fundamentally, we deliver assets (versus billing by hours) and this means that we don’t need to force clients into unattractive AOR relationships with long-term commitments just to please our investors. We focus on what’s good for our clients and let them use our platform on an as-needed basis.
Business, as usual, means exactly that. Unless your vendor is using an end-to-end technology platform to bring efficiencies into the creative process, the only way to get cheaper is by being a cheapskate. And that’s not the way to set-up a brand for long-term success.
The good news for brands is that it’s really easy to determine if better, faster, cheaper is more than a slogan. Just look under the hood and see if there is a high-quality and well-thought-through technology platform. If there’s nothing there, I think my response would be, “Better, faster, cheaper. Sure—but how?”