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Creative Strategist - Job Responsibilities and Skills Explained

Creative Strategist - Job Responsibilities and Skills Explained

Learn about the job responsibilities and skills required to become a successful creative strategist in the marketing industry.

Jun 5, 2024
9 mins
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Your Path to Becoming a Creative Strategist

Ask any creative strategist if their job role is the same as five years ago, and the answer is likely no. As technology advances, consumer behaviours shift, and marketing tactics evolve, the role of a creative strategist continues to adapt and expand.

Additionally, with the rise of e-commerce and online shopping, creative strategists have shifted their focus to digital platforms. This has opened a world of opportunities for creative strategists, giving you a chance to pave your own unique path in this career.

But where do you even start? Is being a creative strategist just making pretty designs and coming up with catchy slogans? This guide will explain what a creative strategist does and what you can do to start your journey toward this exciting role.

Key Takeaways

  • Creative strategists conduct market research, develop marketing strategies and campaigns, and collaborate with various teams to bring creative ideas to life.
  • Since internet marketing never remains static, successful creative strategists must stay updated on industry trends and continuously learn and refine their skills.
  • A formal education in marketing, advertising, or communications can provide a strong foundation for a career as a creative strategist. However, a degree isn't always required.
  • The average salary for a creative strategist ranges from $68,500 to $103,000 a year.

What's a Creative Strategist?

The question "What is a creative strategist?" is often asked, and the answer varies depending on the industry and job position. Here, we’ll primarily focus on the digital marketing and advertising industry.

In digital marketing and paid media, a creative strategist develops and executes data-driven creative strategies that help brands reach, engage, and convert their target audience. They use a combination of analytical thinking, market research, current trends, branding knowledge, and artistic flair to create effective, eye-catching campaigns.

Since a company's creative strategy can make or break its marketing efforts, brands are now hiring dedicated people for this role. As a creative strategist, this lets you work with various clients and industries, making your job as diverse and exciting as they come. 

Breaking Down the Job Role of a Creative Strategist

Let's explore in more detail what a creative strategist does.

Market Research

You'll often see creative strategists scrolling through social media platforms, such as Facebook and TikTok, for new trends and insights. This isn't just for personal enjoyment- they're conducting market research to learn about their target audience's interests and behaviour.

When you know what your target audience is engaging with, you can create tailored campaigns that speak to their interests, preferences, and values. For example, if a piece of content in your industry has gone viral, a creative strategist can use that concept and make it relevant to your brand's offerings.

Besides social media trends, creative strategies can learn about their audience via surveys, focus groups, and website analytics. This data collection process helps them make informed decisions about their campaign strategies.

Competitor Analysis

Creative strategists know that their competitors provide inspiration and insight into what works in the market. They analyse competitor campaigns and assess their strengths, weaknesses, messaging, and creative approach, particularly through the lens of past ads and campaigns those competitors have run. From there, a creative strategist tweaks their own creative ideas to follow industry trends while still standing out.

Developing Unique Campaign Concepts

With enough consumer and market insights, a creative strategist can use their artistic skills to develop unique and impactful concepts. They'll think outside the box and push boundaries to create campaigns that cause their brand's audience to take notice and engage with the content.

After developing these creative concepts, whether for video, print, or digital campaigns, they'll work closely with copywriters, designers, and other marketing team members to bring them to life.

Storytelling and Copywriting

Notice how creative strategists aren't stuck with a single task? They must wear multiple hats and be skilled in many areas, including writing. Great storytelling and copywriting can make or break a campaign.

While a creative strategist doesn't need to be a master wordsmith, they should understand the power of persuasive and engaging copy. They'll work with a team or copywriter to craft compelling messaging and storylines that compel people to take action.

Data Analytics for Ongoing Campaign Improvement

Once a digital campaign is in full swing, a creative strategist doesn't simply sit back and relax. They'll look at every aspect of the campaign, analyzing data to make subtle improvements that will increase CTRs, conversions, and sales or leads. They'll also use data to track overall campaign success and report back to stakeholders.

Analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, social media insights, and specialised marketing platforms, provide valuable metrics on audience engagement, conversion rates, and overall campaign performance.

Project Management

Creative strategists often help manage multiple campaigns simultaneously. This means they're often responsible for developing new ideas for different projects, working with various teams on creative concepts, and overseeing the execution of campaigns from start to finish.

How to Become a Creative Strategist?

Thanks to the ever-evolving world of technology, digital marketing has grown exponentially. Whether it's online purchases being influenced by top influencers or companies using virtual reality to showcase their products, creative strategists are needed now more than ever.

To become a creative strategist, it helps to have the following skills:

Creative Strategist Skills

  • Strong research skills to quickly identify and understand market trends, target audience preferences, and competitor strategies.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills to properly convey their creative visions and collaborate effectively with other team members.
  • A keen eye for detail to produce engaging and visually appealing campaigns that target audiences will reciprocate.
  • Project management skills to effectively plan, organise, and execute multiple campaigns simultaneously.
  • A solid understanding of multiple digital marketing analytic tools such as Google Analytics, Hootsuite, and Sprout Social.
  • Strategic thinking and problem-solving abilities to develop innovative solutions to their audience's needs.
  • The ability to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines.

Educational Requirements

Since there's no college degree specific to creative strategy, there isn't a set educational path to follow. However, having a bachelor's degree in the following fields can be beneficial:

  • Marketing
  • Business
  • Communications
  • Advertising
  • Psychology

Additionally, gaining experience through internships, online courses, and certifications in digital marketing, analytics, and related areas can further enhance your qualifications and prepare you for a career as a creative strategist.

Experience vs College Degrees

You don't necessarily need a college degree to become a successful creative strategist. If you've run successful campaigns, possess the necessary skills and have a strong portfolio to back it up, employers may prioritise your proven track record over a degree. However, having a degree naturally gives you an advantage in the job market and a solid foundation for your career.

Remember that, before anything else, businesses are results-driven. Employers want to see how you've grown brands, increased ROI, and driven results through your creative strategies. If you can prove you're on value, your degree becomes less relevant.

Creative Strategist Salary

Ok, now we get to the good stuff - how much can you expect to earn as a creative strategist? According to ZipRecruiter, the national average salary for a Creative Strategist in 2024 is $92,879 per year or $45 per hour. The lower end of the salary range is around $59,500 per year, with most salaries falling between $68,500 (25th percentile) and $103,000 (75th percentile.) 

Salaries also depend heavily on which company you work for. For example, a global agency like Ogilvy will offer a higher salary than a smaller start-up or local business. Additionally, your salary may increase as you gain more experience and take on bigger projects with greater responsibility.

Where To Find Creative Strategist Jobs

If this career path sounds right for you, it's time to start searching for creative strategist jobs.

Below are some places to look for creative strategist positions:

  1. Job Boards: Websites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and ZipRecruiter frequently list creative strategist positions. For example, Glassdoor lists over 7,000 jobs in the United States, with many positions offering remote or hybrid work options.
  2. Freelance Platforms: Upwork's online freelancer marketplace lists creative strategist jobs. This may be a good option if you are just starting out or prefer to work on a project-by-project basis.
  1. Company Websites: Large marketing and advertising firms like Ogilvy often post job openings on their career pages.
  2. Networking: LinkedIn allows you to connect with other industry professionals and potentially find job opportunities through your network. Joining groups can also be a great way to connect with like-minded individuals and learn about job openings.
  3. Specialised Agencies: Creative agencies such as Creative Circle or The Creative Group focus specifically on placing creatives in various industries, including advertising and marketing.

How MagicBrief Can Help You Become a Successful Creative Strategist

To become a creative strategist, having the right tools and resources can greatly enhance your skills and help you stand out in the competitive job market. One such tool is MagicBrief, a platform that helps creatives and agencies discover, plan, and create effective campaigns.

Here's what we offer to help you become a successful creative strategist:

  • Ad Library: Our platform contains a vast collection of ads from different industries, brands, and social media platforms, giving you insights and inspiration for your campaigns.
  • Ad Evaluation: MagicBrief's AI tool analyses and ranks ads based on various factors, including creativity and effectiveness.
  • Creative Brief and Storyboard Tools: With our brief and storyboard features, you can easily plan and organize your ideas for a campaign, making the process more efficient.
  • Collaboration: We enable agencies and creatives to bring their teams together on our platform, allowing seamless collaboration and communication.
  • Ad account integration: Connect your ad accounts to our platform and get an overview of your ad creatives and campaigns. Track your success and gather data to improve future campaigns.

To learn more about how MagicBrief can help you become a successful creative strategist, sign up for a free trial today! With our platform, you'll have all the necessary resources to excel in your career.

Other Software and Tools for Creative Strategists

  • Adobe Creative Cloud: The suite of creative tools from Adobe, including Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, allows you to transform creative concepts into beautiful and professional designs.
  • Google Analytics: Track and thoroughly understand how your campaigns are performing, identify areas of improvement, and make data-driven decisions with Google Analytics.
  • Canva: An easy-to-use design platform that offers a wide range of templates, images, graphics, and fonts to create new and original designs for your campaigns.
  • Hootsuite: A comprehensive social media management platform that allows you to schedule and manage posts, track engagement, and gather campaign insights.
  • Asana: A project management tool that helps teams collaborate on tasks, assign responsibilities, and stay organized throughout the campaign.
  • Slack:  A communication and collaboration tool that enables team members to stay connected and work together efficiently.

What's the Difference between a Creative Strategist and a Content Strategist?

Both involve content - that's for sure! However, the roles of a creative and content strategist are quite distinct.

A content strategist plans, creates, and distributes content for a brand or company. In contrast, a creative strategist works with the marketing and advertising team to develop innovative concepts and strategies to reach and convert their target audience. A creative strategist may also oversee the execution of these strategies, ensuring that visuals and messaging don't deviate from the overall concept and brand guidelines.

Final Thoughts

If you love understanding how people think and what makes them tick, a career in strategic marketing may be perfect for you. However, it's not just about intuition and creative thinking - having a solid understanding of data, digital tools, and consumer behaviour is also crucial. With the right skills, you'll quickly become an invaluable marketing team asset, achieving your goals and driving your company's or clients' success.

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