The Ad Copy Creative Process: Where to Begin


The importance of creative advertising can’t be overstated: Often, creative is what makes or breaks your campaign. The difference between mediocre creative and great, effective creative is whether a potential target hears your message and likes it, or whether a potential target hears your message, can’t get it out of their head, and remembers it’s associated with your brand.

Creative is especially important for attracting a consumer’s attention today, when most of us are bombarded by visual and audio advertisements from the second we wake up to the moment we go to sleep.

Creating great advertising copy isn’t an accident: it’s the result of dedicated work processes, often with the perfect advertising partner. When choosing your ad partner and beginning your relationship, it’s important to have a strategy conversation where parameters including needs, goals, and targets are clearly defined.

Questions to ask when beginning a relationship with an ad partner

1. How much creative freedom will the creative partner have?

You’ve chosen to hire an ad partner because you believe their experience and history of success will be highly beneficial to your business. That said, you need to decide in advance how much creative freedom your ad partner will have. Having an idea is great, but you shouldn’t go into the meeting unwilling to budge.

2. Do they have a blank canvas?

Are you going to let your ad partner simply run with their ideas? For some businesses, this is the perfect strategy. For other  (more hands-on businesses) it would be better to work more closely with the ad partner to develop great creative. Having an idea of what control you would like to relinquish to your ad partner is a critical first step to building the relationship.

3. Are we doing marketing that already works?

If you’re doing marketing that is already working for you, let your ad partner know this. They’ll have great ideas, but you know your business best. You also might want to ask your ad partner how you can take your current marketing and move it to a new medium, like radio.

As a business owner, you should go into the meeting with your creative partner prepared with ideas, but ready to hear suggestions and strategies you might not have considered. It’s important to be open to the process to create the best campaign.

A good advertising partner will have several questions of their own to ask you, as well, to better understand your needs. Examples of such questions are:

  • What is your business trying to grow/what do you want to bring awareness to?
    • Are you trying to bring overall awareness to your brand or are you trying to get potential customers to take a specific action, like buying a product? A good ad partner will ask.
  • What are your marketing goals?
    • Do you simply want to hit a sales target or do you have a more expansive view of your marketing goals? Your advertising partner will be able to help you define exactly what you are seeking.
  • What do you want potential customers to do after hearing your message?
    • There should only be one call-to-action in your ads so the listener isn’t confused. Establish beforehand what that CTA will be.
  • Do you have key numbers you want to hit, in terms of:
    • Overall revenue
      • Do you want to ensure your overall revenue, or gross income, is reaching a certain amount?
    • Sales lift
      • If overall revenue isn’t your goal, maybe you want to examine the difference between your baseline sales and promotional sales.
    • Website traffic
      • If you aren’t looking for monetary numbers, you might have a goal of increasing the visitors to your website.
    • Social media following
      • Aiming to increase your social media following would be a good goal for a business that’s looking to boost awareness of their brand.
    • Lead Generation
      • Lead generation is another great digital goal: By aiming to increase the amount of visitors filling out forms providing their information on your website, you will increase the possibility of closing sales.

Getting started with a new creative advertising partner is often the most difficult part of launching or changing a marketing strategy. It’s important to take the time to iron out what goals and parameters need to be set in order to establish a clear path for the campaign. Once you do this, as long as you are working with the right ad partner, it should be smooth sailing!

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