Which is the most important skill in marketing? Creativity or analytical skills?

Creativity and analytical skills in marketing

Marketing is thought of as a creative industry. And as we are consuming more and more, and exposed to more and more marketing materials – from traditional advertising to social media – the need for marketing campaigns to be innovative and stand out from their competitors is increasing.  However, an analytical mindset is important too: without analysis of whether your marketing efforts are supporting the business, how do you know if your campaigns are worth their while?  But is one skill more important than the other for success?

Many successful creatives used their talents for commercial purposes – The Great Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzgerald worked in advertising, and Salman Rushdie is responsible for the Aero chocolate bar’s “Irresistibubble” slogan.  As well as copywriting, there’s also the visual side of marketing to consider too.  If you’ve got artistic tendencies and a natural flair for drawing and design, there are plenty of roles in marketing that you can apply them to. From graphic and web designers, print marketing, social media and branding roles: artistic skills are often in high demand in marketing.

However, creativity is something that arguably can’t be taught – you’ve either got it or you haven’t. But it is in high demand by employers in all sectors. It’s not just about beautiful written copy or elegant design, creativity is also the ability to generate innovative solutions to complex problems.  That means knowing how to out-do your competitors at their own game, figuring out how to tap into new markets and come up with ways to optimise and improve your marketing campaigns and strategies.  So if your marketing strategies aren’t innovative or original, you may find your efforts aren’t paying off as well as they should.

But how do you know if your strategies are paying off? Well, that’s where the analytical side of marketing comes in.

Analytics are what makes marketing a worthwhile part of a business: if you aren’t tracking the all-important return on investment of your campaigns, then what’s the point of it?  Once upon a time, that would have meant market researchers with clipboards on street corners, focus groups, and looking for patterns in your sales figures.

The growth of digital marketing has given marketers astonishingly new levels of data, all available in real-time.  And if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool creative type, all those numbers, graphs and charts can be a bit overwhelming. If you don’t know what to do with it, or where to start, you might be missing out on crucial leads and insights.

Knowing accurately who has opened your latest mailshot, how many people your social media campaigns are reaching each day, and being able to track every purchase from your e-commerce website back to a google search, advert click, e-mail campaign or Facebook post, means you can get the most out of your efforts.

But just being able to crunch the numbers means nothing if you can’t put it into practice, by writing the engaging copy or thinking outside the box to reach your target markets.

Really, the most talented marketers need to do both. Absolutely you need to be creative, but you need to be results-driven and analytical too.

You need to able to follow a brief, and be able to put some of your artistic integrity aside to make changes and optimise your efforts.

So what is more important – creativity or analytical skills? Neither. The most important thing is to balance the two.


If you’re thinking about a career in marketing or you’re a more experienced marketer looking for a new challenge, get in touch with our specialist marketing recruiter Cathy Bates.