Marketing’s Favorite Odd Couple

How Strategy Strengthens Your Creative  

It’s one of pop culture’s go-to formulas – The “Odd Couple”. Think Bert and Ernie, Lucy and Ricky, or Woody and Buzz Lightyear. Opposites come together and despite their differences, manage to not only make it work, but make each other better because of it.  

Pairing a seemingly odd couple, Strategy and Creative, is often where Marketing thrives. Hosts Tripp Underwood and Elise Orlowski were joined by Cramer’s SVP of Strategy and Content, Angel Micarelli, to explore this often-discussed topic on an episode of Pivot Points. 

In the Odd Couple, Strategy is like the Type A character – driven by data and measurable results, it’s often seen as very structured, while Creative is more the Type B character – free-flowing, emotional and subjective. However, by combining the two, it makes the impossible possible. 

As Angel points out, “[Strategy] gives you a framework to put the creative in, which is kind of like writing a haiku. … It actually makes me MORE creative in what I’m expressing because I’ve got those parameters.” Imagine an opportunity where the only direction provided is “Write something good.” Without strategy, this open-ended and subjective task isn’t feasible to create with the impact the clients’ want. 

Angel details how both groups are driven to “work with the clients and figure out what is that emotional core that they need to go after. … That’s, at the end of the day, what is informing every experience, every campaign.” Ideally, you will be able to conduct audience research but in a fast-paced industry, sometimes there just isn’t the time. That is when tapping into the strategy and creative teams can get results without holding up the process.  

“Talk to your marketers, talk to your writers, and your designers,” Angel elaborated. “‘What are you seeing in the market with our customers?’ doesn’t take a long time, but getting perspective, that’s what strategy is right? It’s perspective and as much as you can get will only make the work better.” Not only will it make content better, but it builds the trust and comradery on teams that separately creating campaigns won’t. 

A perfect example of Creative and Strategy working cohesively together to create better marketing is with “sustainable content”. There’s become a drive for more digital content and with it, the need for more VALUABLE content.  

Working together, Creative can create one large piece of content that is the peak of an event. By dividing that piece into multiple smaller segments, they can be placed strategically all over the digital landscape to continue its “life”, reach a larger audience and build better brand awareness, all without the time and cost of creating new additional content.  

Time is money so, as Elise calls it, “Strategic Timing” creates an opportunity for both to lean into their strengths while working together. Creative focuses on the content being created while Strategy plans for content activation. This extends creative for a larger ROI with minimal effort on the client side. 

We often see the Odd Couple trope used because it is the demonstration that a duo isn’t as strong without each other, and it’s just as true with Creative and Strategy. Without the framework provided by Strategy, Creative will struggle to create content that resonates with a client and their audience. And without Creative, Strategy will not HAVE the content that can drive an entire marketing campaign. Together they are more effective than they would be apart but also help develop those within these areas into even stronger strategists and creatives than they would’ve been alone.

For more details on Marketing’s favorite Odd Couple, tune in to the Pivot Points’ episode “How Strategy Makes Creativity Effective”.