PPC Marketers vs. the Death of Creativity

The AMC network has a new show, Mad Men, that showcases life in the Madison Avenue ad agencies of the late 50’s and early 60’s. This was the center of the universe for marketing innovation and advertising creativity.

I was able to catch the first episode of Mad Men and was instantly taken back to the days of chain smoking in the office and the three martini lunch. (How anyone could be productive in that environment after 1pm is beyond me.)

What really struck a chord was how Creativity, the light bulb over your head idea-making, determined success or failure. Demand creation was the end all, be all. Imagination and Creativity was the skill set. First, tell the consumer what they need, magnify their desire, glamorize it and then give it to them.

Fast forward to the 21st century. I live in the world of Paid Search Marketing. The land where keywords and 95 characters of text can make or break a company’s bottom line. The land where analytics provide a mind-numbing mathematical overload of CPC, CPA, CTR, ROI, and on and on. I like to think that there is a good deal of creativity in the work I do for my clients. The light bulb goes on fairly frequently, and, thanks to my three Red Bull lunches, I can remain productive well beyond 5pm.

Google arguably dominates today’s online ad world. It and other search engines rule today’s consumer by satisfying an individual’s demand for products and services. Create demand? Create desire? Not on your life!

Google recently announced the creation of an automated tool to assist in “optimizing” a paid search campaign. This tool drives another nail in the coffin of Creativity. It’s a veiled attempt to remove careful study and consideration from the very human interaction of fulfilling desire. This interaction demands study, consideration and certainly Creativity for it to be fruitful.

An automated process, no matter how intelligent, cannot help you connect on a human level. Push the optimize button and Google will tell you how best to spend your money on Google, not connect with your future customers. Is anyone else out there a tiny bit suspicious of Google’s intentions with this new tool?

I for one will continue to rely on creativity, research, testing and my own analysis to best serve my clients. Sure, I have the latest and greatest analytics and research tools at my disposal. But sometimes, nothing beats a good brainstorming session with my team of dedicated, intelligent and Creative paid search professionals – the Mad Men and Women of the 21st century.