It’s not an uncommon problem for B2B companies to face: a lack of customers who can be called upon for references, speaking opportunities, case studies and other important marketing resources. For Christina Melluzzi, Head of Customer Advocacy EMEAR at Cisco, this frustration was manifested in a limited pool of only 100 brand advocates that sales and marketing personnel could go to for help. 

January’s a tough month when it comes to inspiring motivation and innovation within a creative team, or really any team for that matter. Everyone has recently emerged from the haze of the holidays and is physically back at work, but mentally…maybe not so much, not just yet. 

It’s pretty easy to list the traits of a bad creative management. Short-sighted, impulsive, stubborn, ego-driven, unconstructive or unclear in their feedback, resistant of change, impossible to approach or simply impossible to work with… Feel free to take a moment to remember a miserable leader you worked under. Thank god that’s over (hopefully). 

Here’s the thing, though. Being a creative manager is tough stuff. Most people entering the role have emerged from the proverbial agency trenches after years of direct, hands-on creative input. They were the people pulling late nights and working tirelessly towards tight deadlines. It was their vision seamlessly woven into the fabric of every campaign. 

But being a good creative manager, one who drives results, means taking a step back from being directly involved in the creative process and refocusing on the actual management of a creative team. And yes, it can feel like a prolonged moment of tongue-biting as you find the right balance of gentle but firm managerial touch.  

Here are a few suggestions to help you become a benevolent ruler instead of an overbearing warlord. By following these guidelines you’ll see long term results, a happy team and greater innovation…

This post could boil down to one simple statement: “I wish I’d thought of that.” 

Only a creative advertising expert is able to make everyone feel like they should have – even could have – had that idea. In marketing, great ideas aren’t inaccessible and they aren’t isolating. They’re extremely democratic. 

And yet. And yet the best ideas also plant an aspirational seed in other creatives. They drive people to want to achieve and innovate and advance the standard of a “good idea” like all the good ideas before them. 

So how do you know if you’ve crossed the line into expert territory? If the awards on your shelf don’t tip you off, we’ve rounded up a few signs you might already be there… 

The most effective marketing serves to present a solution, tell a story or achieve some combination of the two. Contrary to what many people might believe, the primary goal of a single marketing campaign shouldn’t be to sell a brand. Selling of the brand comes secondary; it’s a side effect of a great campaign, one that leaves people convinced that this one solution is the best, or that this one story speaks to them the most. Once someone has connected with the solution or the story, they then connect with the brand responsible for delivering it.