The commercial case for creativity

July 19, 2019

Drummond Central managing director, Dan Appleby, explains how creativity has been proven to be one of the most useful thing marketers can leverage to improve effectiveness and drive revenue

There has never been a tougher time to work in marketing than right now. And I know our client-side colleagues are under more pressure than ever. The marketing landscape is in constant flux, with new technology and platforms changing the dynamic between brands and their customers; customers who have never been more informed and empowered.

Industries are being disrupted from every direction by challenger businesses that can start up and pose a competitive threat in the blink of an eye. Whole industries can be impacted overnight by the likes of Amazon, Google and Facebook, which can affect seismic changes on a whim.

Established businesses and those in mature marketing categories have to perform and transform at the same time – to keep pace.

Respect for marketing at board level is also under threat. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard senior marketers bemoan that C-suite colleagues and board members have reduced their role to ‘’the colouring-in department’. And yet, the demand to perform consistently has never been higher.

Marketing has to drive revenue. If a marketer doesn’t drive revenue, they won’t last long in the job.

In 2018, a Marketing Week survey found that 81 per cent of marketing directors believed they would leave their job within three years, with 38 per cent saying they believed they’d leave by the end of that year. At a recent event, I heard a CEO from a global household brand describe the transient nature of his role by saying, “The bullet’s been fired, it’s just a question of when it catches up with me.”

In this climate, marketers need to focus on what will deliver results for their brands, both in the (very) short term while also demonstrating that they’re building brands for long-term growth.

I’ve always believed that creativity is one of the most significant drivers of growth, and what’s encouraging is that the evidence for this has never been more apparent.

According to studies from Paul Dyson (Admap) and Les Binet and Peter Field (IPA), creative execution is, after market and brand size, the second-most important driver of marketing profitability. On average, it multiplies profitability by a factor of eleven.

A study by Nielsen found that good creative was the most important element when it came
to growing revenue, responsible for 47 per cent of sales uplift (compared to 22 per cent from campaign reach, 15 per cent from brand strength, 9 per cent targeting, 5 per cent recency and only 2 per cent context).

This evidence is backed up by global consultancy firm McKinsey who discovered that companies scoring in their McKinsey’s Award Creativity Score performed better than peer firms on three key measures: 67 per cent had above- average organic revenue growth; 70 per cent had above-average total return to shareholders; 74 per cent had above-average net enterprise value.

The word ‘’brave’ is sometimes used by agencies and clients alike when describing work that
is felt to be pushing boundaries, challenging conventions and potentially being provocative. I’ve lost track of the number of ideas that have been killed because they were seen as ‘’too risky’, ‘’too brave’, or ‘’too creative’.

But marketing and advertising have to be recognised to have a chance of succeeding and delivering results.

Good ideas aren’t dangerous or risky to marketers; they’re disproportionately effective. If creativity can amplify marketing effectiveness by a factor of eleven, it’s not a brave choice to be more creative as a brand. It just makes commercial common sense.

Drummond Central
Drummond Central is an award- winning creative and digital marketing agency that helps ambitious businesses drive revenue and growth.

– Advertising feature –

Scroll to next article
Go to

Keep them coming back for more