How to Blend Process, Strategy, and Creativity to Maximize Results

Throughout my career, I have been part of marketing and agency teams that have developed great creative as well as, if I’m honest, some not-so-great creative.  

As I look back at creating commercial advertising, fundraising communications, book covers, and collateral that generated results and helped build brands, the best work has been a combination of process, strategy, and the creative magic that brings it to life.

At the Christian Leadership Alliance’s Outcomes Conference 2022, Heather Day — director of marketing for Barnabas Foundation — and I will be presenting. In our session called Donor Marketing: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, we are going to discuss and provide practical tools and processes that lay the foundation for developing effective creative campaigns. We’ll review five messaging principles to guide and evaluate creative. We’ll also spend time reviewing creative work to identify which are good, bad, and even ugly. 

To understand the value and importance of process, think back to when you first started driving.

We all learned the steps in making turns: 

  • Get in the correct lane
  • Turn on your signal about 100 feet before the turn 
  • Begin to slow down 
  • Check for cars 
  • Check for pedestrians 
  • Make a hand-over-hand turn 
  • Straighten the car 
  • Accelerate  

Of course, there wasn’t just one way to make a turn. There were differences in the process depending on if you were making a right turn or left turn or approaching a stop sign or traffic light.

When you first started making turns, you probably consciously thought of each step in the process. Your first turns probably weren’t very smooth as you went through the checklist of steps. Whoever was with you on those first turns was probably on the edge of their seat. You may have even hit a few curbs along the way. As you made more and more turns, the individual steps in the process become second nature. You did them smoothly in succession without being conscious of each individual step, even when the driver’s license examiner was with you in the car.

It’s the same with communications work. Whether it’s a 30 second commercial, a social media ad, a direct mail package, or a simple piece of collateral, consistently great creative is only the beginning of unseen contributions from cross-functional team members serving in different roles. 

In our session at CLA, we will look at the overall creative development process beginning with a definition of the objectives and results we’re trying to achieve, target audience, messaging, creative formats, and creative guidelines that provide the parameters for the development and evaluation of the creative work. We’ll provide practical tools for defining the offer and key messages. We also provide a template for developing the creative brief that serves as the reference point throughout the development and implementation of the campaign. 

We will also review and discuss five messaging principles that guide the development of the creative and also serve as a “checklist” to guide creative review. We’ll close the session by looking at, evaluating, and discussing real-world creative — some of which will be good, bad, and even ugly. 

If you’re a leader in a Christian nonprofit organization, Outcomes 2022 is the place to be. The content is excellent, and the chance to connect with fellow leaders and practitioners is absolutely worth it. Heather and I welcome you to join us at our session on Tuesday, April 26.

Donor Marketing: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Heather Day, Director of Marketing, Barnabas Foundation
Ray Pokorny, Senior Vice President, Client Strategy, Masterworks

Wednesday, March 9, 10:15 am
Outcomes Conference, Louisville, KY

There’s plenty of fundraising marketing collateral out there (some prettier than others). In this interactive session, Heather and Ray share six guiding principles of marketing to your supporters. They’ll help you identify what “good” looks like and how it impacts results. Outcomes: 1) Know the process that’s required to achieve the “good” and marketing that works; 2) Apply six messaging principles to guide your creative development; and 3) Evaluate marketing collateral, knowing how to separate the good from the bad.