Behind every successful marketing campaign is a creative strategist - but what do these talented professionals actually do from day-to-day?
Whether you’re working for an in-house marketing team or an agency, creative strategy is a fast-paced job that requires both creative and analytical thinking as well as strong communication skills.
Looking to get started in this role? Here’s everything you need to know about creative strategist positions.
Creative Strategist Definition
In short, a creative strategist develops comprehensive marketing strategies for their employer or clients. They work with both the creative side and the analytical side of a marketing department to facilitate communication and ad development.
Creative strategists often work for in-house marketing teams, but many agencies have their own creative strategists as well. In order to succeed in this field, you’ll need to be adaptable and able to juggle several different projects at once.
What Do Creative Strategists Do?
Creative strategists tackle a wide variety of tasks in their role. The specifics of the job will vary depending on the company you work for and the type of marketing campaigns you’re running. Here are some creative strategist duties you'll be responsible for in this role.
Market Research and Trend Monitoring
Market research is a crucial ongoing responsibility for any creative strategist. You’ll need to stay on the pulse of all the latest market trends.
In particular, you’ll need to keep up-to-date with social media and digital marketing platforms. Apps like TikTok and Instagram are constantly updating their algorithms and expanding their advertising options. Creative strategists need to know the ins and outs of the digital landscape in order to create successful campaigns.
Additionally, you’ll need to conduct in-depth research projects that are specific to the product and target audience you’re working with. For example, many creative strategists will run focus groups or use digital A/B testing to gauge consumer reactions to new marketing strategies.
On top of that, you’ll need to monitor your competitors’ marketing strategies. This will help you develop campaigns to outperform them and establish a foothold in the market.
Develop and Test Marketing Strategies
A large part of any creative strategist’s job is developing new marketing strategies and testing them for efficacy. To do this, you’ll need a deep understanding of the brand you’re working with and their target audience. Many marketing initiatives require extensive testing before they’re ready to hit the market.
When developing new strategies, creative strategists work with professionals throughout the organisation, including leadership. Familiarity with multi-channel marketing strategies is key, and you’ll need to be able to think outside the box to develop campaigns that make an impact with your target audience.
Project and Client Management
Strong project management skills and the ability to stay organised are key for creative strategists. You’ll need to juggle many different tasks when working on a marketing project, ranging from ideation to scheduling to budgeting. Because of this, creative strategists need basic financial knowledge and business strategy skills to succeed.
Many creative strategists work with an entire creative team, so you’ll need to be able to communicate with them directly and clearly. Strategists will also need to be able to juggle multiple campaigns at once, switching back and forth between them with ease.
Creative strategists that work for marketing agencies will also need strong client management skills. This means communicating professionally with clients and working together to build a marketing strategy that best suits their goals. Every organisation has different wants and needs when it comes to marketing, so you’ll need to be flexible and pick up on new concepts quickly to succeed.
Write Campaign Briefs
As a creative strategist, you’ll coordinate with both in-house and freelance creatives on your ad concepts and marketing solutions. Writing briefs is a very important part of this process and is a crucial skill.
You’ll need to create detailed briefs for a variety of ad campaigns, ranging from social media videos to blogs to local advertising initiatives. These briefs should set your copywriters, graphic designers, and video editors up for success and help them develop content that’s a fit for your campaign.
Track Campaign Progress
After launching a new marketing campaign, creative strategists work with their teams to monitor its performance. You’ll need to use your analytical thinking skills to determine why each campaign is or isn’t successful, and make adjustments to future campaigns as necessary.
How to Become a Creative Strategist: Education Requirements
To become a creative strategist, you’ll typically need a bachelor’s degree in marketing, advertising, or communications. A degree in media production, business, or public relations can also be very helpful.
Unlike some other fields, creative strategy jobs typically don’t have strict education requirements. This means that even if you have a degree in another field, you could still potentially transition into creative strategy after gaining experience in the marketing field.
It’s even possible to become a creative strategist without a college degree if you have appropriate work experience. However, a lack of a degree can make it difficult to break into the marketing industry in a lower-level role.
Most creative strategists start their careers in a lower-level marketing or advertising position. Working as a copywriter, social media specialist, or account coordinator are all great roles to help you prepare for working as a creative strategist.
A master's degree is generally not necessary to succeed as a creative strategist. This role tends to focus more on experience and skill set than education.
Creative Strategist Salary and Job Outlook
The median salary for a creative strategist is $95,146 per year. (USD) The pay for this position can range anywhere from $72,095 to $116,522. Salaries will vary depending on the location and industry of the company you’re working for, as well as your experience level.
The job outlook for creative strategists is positive, particularly as companies around the world move their marketing campaigns online. Professionals who know the ins and outs of online marketing are in high demand.
Many creative strategists work in an office environment due to the collaborative nature of the job. However, some creative strategists have transitioned to a fully or partially remote work environment over the past few years. Digital tools have made it easier to develop marketing campaigns online.
Creative Strategist Skills and Certifications
Creative strategy jobs typically don’t require any specific certifications. However, getting a relevant certification can help you stand out in a crowded field. Many universities and online platforms offer certifications specifically for creative strategists.
In order to succeed, creative strategists need a versatile skill set. Here are some of the skills necessary for creative strategists:
- Written communication: Writing content briefs and communicating via email are both important parts of creative strategy work.
- Verbal communication: You’ll need to be able to speak clearly and professionally with both clients and coworkers.
- Creativity: Developing new marketing campaigns requires creativity and the ability to think outside the box about new concepts.
- Social media: Many of today’s marketing campaigns take place on social media, which means that you’ll need to be familiar with all of the major social media platforms and have an understanding of social media trends.
- Marketing analysis: In addition to your creative skills, you’ll also need to hone your analytical skills, particularly when it comes to understanding consumer behaviour patterns.
- Organisation: Since creative strategists tend to juggle many different projects at once, you’ll need strong organisational skills to say on top of it.
Working as a creative strategist is a fun and fast-paced position that requires plenty of marketing savviness. The job outlook for creative strategists is very positive right now, with endless digital advertising possibilities on the market.