For CEOs, CMOs in need of an Ad Agency, or a MarTech firm. Do this first…

Accept the fact that traditional ad agencies often lack the consulting expertise to develop positioning and differentiation strategies while martech firms are totally focused on digital media. Then accept the fact that you may need a Creative Strategist to bridge that planning gap.

After 20 years as a CEO/Creative Director of my own ad agency, working directly with 200 tech company CEOs and CMOs, I can fill that planning gap and then introduce you to the ad agency/martech groups needed for execution.

The marketing world is experiencing dramatic changes and one of the major issues issue’s is creativity, the critical gap between messaging and media.

Here’s a few thoughts from a white paper I drafted last year, currently available on my website at

MarTech is very clearly defined in most peoples’ vocabulary today as the process for distributing marketing messages via digital technology and social media. However, the rapid acceleration of this technology has left a gap between the corporate concepts that are critical to a company’s presence in the market and the vehicles deployed to spread the message.

As a result the messaging quality is suffering. This is what forced development of the Creative Strategist role. What follows are abstracts and excerpts from a series of recent publications discussing various approaches and solutions for the creativity gap that has developed between the planning and the execution stages of marketing. The last page of the white paper is a look at the costs and processes I use for my clients to bridge that gap. 

It’s true. Social Media is valuable, but primarily as a tool for the distribution of the content/messages that impact sales and branding. Messages in turn are becoming heavily dependent on neuroscience to alter the brain chemistry required of changing a prospective buyer’s attitude. Artificial Intelligence is starting to play a role.

An article in ADWEEK last summer sheds some light on the challenge of management vs. the media gap with a note regarding Deloitte’s acquisition of Heat, a hot creative shop.

“Over the past few years, Deloitte has acquired roughly 12 agencies, including mobile shop Ubermind in 2012 and Swedish agency Mobiento last year. While those acquisitions armed the company with the tools to build a digital practice, Heat was clearly a play for creative expertise.”

“For so long, creative has been considered just a part of the marketing budget,” Hatch said. “But with all this disruption, creativity is what is driving a lot of the new ways of thinking.”

Apparently it took a year to come to the realization that stand-alone digital didn’t do the job. Deloitte has now combined creative, business strategy, and digital transformation. That’s what Creative Strategists do to earn their keep.

And from another agency, Droga5, from founder David Droga:

“When the agency takes on a new client, Jonny Bauer’s (Chief Strategy Officer) team begins a deep-dive research mission—sifting through financials, launching ethnographic research on customer behavior, embedding with various parts of the business. The goal is to unearth the client’s purpose (a word you hear constantly at Droga), which is the idea from which everything else will emerge. In Bauer’s view, it’s this process that gives the agency its biggest edge.

Origin of Keith Bates, the Creative Strategist

Over the past couple of decades Keith spent a great deal of time counseling senior management and marketing executives on developing more effective communications programs. And in the process discovered that executive frustration with the universally poor return on marketing dollars is quite commonly due to a lack of understanding and/or faith in the marketing communications process coupled with the age-old curse of inadequate accountability.

Specifically it advocates a much greater depth of customer knowledge and involvement than the norm, a unique concept of creative formatting, and the development of a team approach for its implementation. Initially it’s more work than the traditional non-integrated process but it offers benefits that range from survival to dramatic growth.

Curious to see if a Creative Strategist fits your needs? Send an email to I’d be happy to assess your present messaging.

Keith Bates has enjoyed a lifelong, around the world, passion for helping people communicate whether it was school buddy book reports or his former ad agency client’s marketing. Keith is different.

A content writer/strategist’s ability lets them see things others don’t. Keith learned early in life that provocative content and imaging were required to change attitudes and beliefs.

This skill came in handy with Keith’s more than 200 clients over the years, most of them software vendors, who found the requirement of translating developer language to end user language pretty challenging.

And today we have a new challenge, only it’s not inventor vs. end user but messaging vs. media. It’s OK to add digital media complexity for message distribution, but not for messaging requirements. 


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