Why the Creative Director of the Future Stands at the Crossroads of Marketing, Tech, Product, and Ads

Creative directors increasingly measure success and earn business by the number of users who interact with their work.

The role of the creative director is transforming — the evolution of mobile technology and all the ways that consumers interact with ads are completely altering how industry leadership approaches the job. Put another way, the days of A-list Photoshop-jockeys with master’s degrees are waning. The future of the creative director now turns on the intersection of marketing, technology, product design, and sales. Tomorrow’s directors — and, frankly, today’s as well — must stand at the crossroads of all these skill-sets.

Let’s look at what this means for both the up-and-coming director and the mid-stream professional. Given the far-reaching effects of the transformation that’s underway, both are pivoting to meet the new demands of the emerging role.

Future Forward: The Next-Generation Creative Director

Creative directors, thirty years ago, would never have said, “My goal is for millions of people to interact with my ad.” What did ads have to do with real-time interaction? Advertising appeared primarily in print and on TV, and campaign results were evaluated based on longer-game metrics such as revenue, coupon performance, quarterly sales, and other measurement techniques. Creative agencies sat at the start of this process, making up the big ideas, and advertising gave them new business when the big ideas worked.

Flash-forward to 2017: creative directors increasingly measure success and earn business by the number of users who interact with their work on mobile and desktop screens (but mostly mobile, as media-buying agency Zenith reports). Campaigns have to show rich results in terms of ad performance, swipes, clicks, time spent with ad, video completion, and interactions like these. Bottom line, while performance will always take a forward position in the race, creative directors will have to focus on engagement in the months and years to come.

To understand engagement, start with all the elements of advertising, marketing, product, and technology already in play. Each is a component that creative directors often haven’t had to prioritize. [Article continues on StreetFightMag.com]

Walter T. Geer III is Vice President, Creative Director at Verve in New York City.

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