Marketing Flop? Here’s How To Recover From A Creative Slump

Sit back, grab your favorite leather-bound notebook and find a café. Try these five creative ways of thinking to get over your creative slump.

Photo: Entrepreneur Jacob Baadsgaard, CEO of Disruptive Advertising
Photo: Entrepreneur Jacob Baadsgaard, CEO of Disruptive Advertising

Marketing is an entirely different animal when compared to other business studies. Unlike finance, management, and economics, marketing is more akin to an art than a science.

Left-brained thinkers flock to marketing for the freedom of expression it provides, but with free reins you’re bound to get lost along the way. As with most art forms, you must be weary of waxes and wanes in creativity. When you’re in a creativity lull it can seem never-ending, but don’t fret! Some constructive brain-storming can give you the motivation you need to get out of a rut.

So sit back, grab your favorite leather-bound notebook and find a café. Try these five creative ways of thinking to get over your creative slump:


  1. Channel ancient philosophy.

    When was the last time you found your marketing muse? Maybe you should step out of the business box for a while and give Ancient Greek philosophy a try.

    While Aristotle is a household name within philosophy circles, few business owners know much about his works. One of the most influential people in western civilization today, 2,000 years later, Aristotle’s teachings regarding persuasion have direct implications in the marketing world.

    According to Aristotle there are three different ways to persuade others: ethos – appealing to ethics, pathos – appealing to emotions, and logos – appealing to logic. Your service or product should utilize one or more of these ‘appeals’, and once you’ve figured out which to use, you can better determine how to meet your customer’s psychological needs.

  2. Consider how the product makes you feel.

    Find the nearest couch; dim the lights and tap into your inner Freud –many successful marketers employ psychology in their appeals to customers. No need for a Phd in Psychology, however.

    There are a few simple principles you can use. For one, most customers would like to think that logic is their central appeal in making purchases. However, this isn’t always the case; people act on emotion and often times, on impulse.

    As consumers we make purchases based on simple needs and desires; figuring out how to address those needs, or wants, is essential in a successful marketing campaign. As Harvard Business Review writer, Theodore Levitt suggests, concentrate on meeting needs rather than on selling products.

  3. Do a SWOT analysis.

    And now we’ve landed back in business class. Conducting a SWOT analysis for your business will help you to perpetuate your marketing campaign by giving you better perspective and refined focus. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Take some time to jot out some of each.

    Dan Rosenberg, CMO of Cash for Cars, says that conducting a SWOT analysis is a vital step they take when creating marketing campaigns. Ultimately you want to use the SWOT analysis to think of ways to reposition your business and your competition. Think of it this way: how can you showcase your strengths in a persuasive manner, circumvent your weaknesses and reduce the chances of your ‘threats’ from gaining ground?

  4. Don’t forget the intangibles.

    After the initial purchase, what keeps a customer coming back for future products and services? Brand loyalty. If you can find a way to establish preference in your customer base, something that can’t be obtained from the competitor, you’re golden. Use the information you’ve gained from your SWOT analysis to see how your strengths set you apart so you can differentiate your business from the competition.

  5. Get the consumer to do your job for you.

    There’s no better way of determining what users want than having them participate in the marketing campaign. You could start by talking to your target market – ask them about their needs and desires, and how they feel about your product and your competitors’.

    If you have any sample advertisements from competitors, or from your business, showcase them and note their reactions. Additionally, photo and video contests can provide an immense amount of user-generated content. Provide the consumer some incentive to contribute, and evolve your marketing campaign with ideas straight from the people you’re attempting to appeal to.


This article has been edited and condensed.

Jacob Baadsgaard is the CEO of Disruptive Advertising. He is a passionate digital marketer and entrepreneur with 7 years of enterprise digital marketing experience. He personally managed over 40 million dollars in annual marketing budget and consulted many of the Inc. 100 companies while at Adobe, including groups like: GE, John Deere, Citibank and Home Depot. Connect with @DisruptiveAds on Twitter.



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