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Time for a creativity audit

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Whether you work in products, services, or the fundraising arena, the start of a new year is a great time to reflect on what worked or didn’t work for the previous year in your strategic marketing growth. Time for a creativity audit — a careful review and critique of all of your current marketing efforts.

Your website is a good starting place. If you recently updated your site, go back and look at the page views.  Google analytics makes this an easy process. If most pages are viewed regularly, then your site is working effectively; if not, some pages may need additional design modifications.

Your site should help define your brand in simple messages and should incorporate high-quality photography. The website copy could need a creative tweak to generate interest and to differentiate your organization. Change photos, add press mentions, add services, and list organizational events that take place throughout the year.

These are but a few of the public relations items that can embellish and reinforce your desired messages. Web browsers will then spot the changes and make your organization more visible by search engines.

Managing your website

The start of 2019 is also a good time to consider how you are promoting your website for increased traffic. If the site is fairly new, send a broad-based client or friend email message that links to your website and invites your contacts to take a look.

New and revised sites are a big deal; you should take a creative approach to letting your clients know about the changed features of the site that are  potentially valuable to them. For example, via email, a cybersecurity firm could say it focuses on “how they help executives sleep at night” and list its cyber support services.

Also, make sure your web address is highly visible on all of your print and digital sources of communications. Websites are something you can and should control yourself, without the stigma of any social media negative reputational issues.

Beyond the web changes, creativity should also be applied to your networking and event activities. If you or your organization sponsor regular training programs or client events, take a new look at your approach.

People get “event fatigue” and prefer varied approaches to add stimulation and value to their time away from the office. Re-think everything — perhaps using a new venue, developing a “bring-a-guest” promotion, designing more creative invitations, altering the time the event is held, or modifying  an event based on a focused client survey to create value-added event benefits.

Other creative changes

For your personal networking, meeting new contacts in person is still a critical part of business development. Use a creative approach to find new organizations to learn about and participate in. If you like nature, for example, join an outdoor organization or board. Or switch your attendance of chamber of commerce events from one near your office to one near your home. Ask a colleague to take you to a networking event he/she enjoys.

A final suggestion for the new year: Hold an internal creative meeting of your key players. Schedule it away from the office and bring plenty of colorful office supplies and goofy snacks to lighten the mood. Assign everyone the simple task to bring an ad or brochure from any industry or competitor that portrays creativity to them. This process will precipitate a good discussion as you review and audit all of your own ongoing creative activities.

Creative marketing approaches can certainly help you to stand out from your competition this year — have a successful one.

Glenda LeGendre is principal of Marketing & Strategic Communications and can be reached at glegendre@comcast.net.