“Management is doing things right;
leadership is doing the right things.”
When a business has identified the value of its product, the wants and desires of its customer and the key communication it needs to make to that customer to convert them, that is a marketing plan. All you need to do is put it on paper. That is the map that details all of the basic steps the business needs to take to achieve success. Tactics may change—print or broadcast, online or direct mail—but the intention will remain the same, clear and actionable.
Too often, marketing plans are just media plans trumped up to look smarter than they really are. Anyone can spend money and show some results. You can spit on media space and get a response. The goal is to spend money intelligently and achieve the results you want. The goal is to hit the bull’s-eye.
Creative Direction is the process of developing communications—advertising, collateral, etc.—that will express the branding correctly and make that familiar bond stronger, while at the same time guiding all of those creative elements to make sure that the communication really works. It is not a fire and forget sort of process. It’s more akin to shepherding, particularly since the real world will usually surprise you with your results. So, Creative Direction is really a process of aiming, shooting, judging and improving or evolving the message.