There's a battle going on in the marketing world today, between creativity and technology. A completely pointless battle.
Agencies, consultancies, and in-house creative departments have struggled to figure out which of these is the way to go. Should we lean into creativity, like we always have? Should we rely upon technology that's come along in the past decade?
But what everyone seems to forget is that every idea, no matter how amazing or terrible it was, depended upon some kind of technology to move out of its creators brain and into the real world. But along with that, every form of technology is nothing without ideas to power it.
Technology has always been creativity's friend, not its enemy. Think about it…
Technology Scales Human Creativity
From the days of the printing press, technology helped spread ideas. Whether it was propaganda used to stand against injustices or simply entertainment meant to lift the public's spirits. Without the printing press, spreading those ideas to that scale would've been impossible. But they were limited to using words through type. So, technology advanced and printed posters and books and anything that we used to do by hand. Suddenly, we expanded the ways we thought to execute our ideas, but we worked within the technology we had.
Previous technology had given us scale, but with the limit of speaking to everyone the same way.
And then radio came along, and we realized we didn't even have to print our words anymore. We could spread our voice without leaving the studio. But it didn't limit us to words: we could spread music. And as part of that, we created the jingle.
But television wasn't far behind. And as we knew that a picture could speak a thousand words, we found that a video could speak volumes. And we expanded how we brought our ideas to life, creating short-form stories in 60-second commercials, connecting with people in a way we used to only be able to do on a stage. Now, we could speak to people around the globe.
Technology had given us scale, but added the limit of speaking to everyone the same way.
Modern Technology is Feared
And that brings us to today. A day where technology is being criticized, feared, and sometimes ignored in modern marketing.
The technological marvel of the internet has brought us the ability to communicate with the rest of the world in ways our marketing ancestors never thought possible. But it's given us something that almost turns back time.
We don't have to speak to everybody the same way anymore.
Digital and social media's differentiator isn't only about scale. It's about personalization. We can still create videos and images and sounds and words and spread them across the planet. But, we can make sure the right ones go to the right people. We can craft messages specifically for people, knowing what they care about, understanding who they are as a person, instead of treating them like one amongst many people.
This next step in our marketing history isn't a battle between technology and creativity: it's the ultimate expression of their partnership.
Friends, Not Enemies
I'm sure, in each stage of history, people feared the technology of their time. But given experimentation, they embraced it and found that it opened up new worlds for creativity, rather than replacing them.
The battle between technology and creativity needs to end. Technology and creativity need to live hand in hand. They need to be and have always been allies, scaling our creativity and bringing it to the world.