Creative Intelligence Is the Secret to Doing the Best Marketing of Your Life (and It’s Not What You Think It Is)

creative intelligence for marketers

In marketing, everyone needs to be creative. (Not just YouTube content creators and graphic designers.) We all adaptively respond, pivot, and innovate in big and small ways. And that is true creativity.

We’ve talked about creative intelligence (CQ), and how sales reps can improve their CQ.

Now let’s dive into what marketers can do to boost their CQ.

But first, why does this matter for marketers? 81% of customers trust family and friends over business advice, and 55% report trusting companies less than they used to. When you boost your creative intelligence, you make customers feel heard and taken care of.

Creative intelligence is made up of five unique quotients. Below we’ll look at a definition for each, and specific ideas to help marketers grow:

  • Emotional
  • Intelligence
  • Cultural
  • Social
  • Power

1. Boost Your Emotional Quotient

Emotional intelligence is all about your ability to truly focus on someone’s else needs, not your own.

For example, if your team is expanding content to a new audience subset, you should take the time to really understand this audience, rather than make quick edits to existing templates to cross off the campaign off your to do list.

To increase your emotional quotient, you need to do more listening – a lot more listening.

Particularly if you’re in a strategy or brand role, you should spend over half your time listening to customers.

These are my personal favorite ways to listen to our customers:

  • Listen to sales call recording on Gong
  • Attend a sales call live
  • Read through customer support and chat conversations
  • Consume relevant content on social media

If your sales team uses Gong, it’s a bit easier to view the structure of the call so you can dive into the best parts.

2. Boost Your Intelligence Quotient

While your intellect isn’t everything, we also can’t pretend that it’s nothing. There are different types of intelligence of course, but here we’re looking at intelligence in the traditional sense – brain power. Some people on your team might be great analyzers. Others will be incredible at organizing and systematizing their work.

As a marketer, the best thing you can do to increase your intellectual intelligence is to understand the value drivers for your customers, and how to quantify these.

The process should look something like this:

  1. Understand what about your solution drives value for customers.
  2. Know how to quantify this value with leading and laggard metrics (current state of the customer’s business versus predictive indicators of future success).
  3. Teach customers how to get to this value – create lots of content in different formats that strategically guides potential customers and paying customers toward getting this value.

By mapping out this value and how to lead customers to it, you’ll increase results for your campaigns and for your customers.

Certifications, while resource-intensive to make, are an amazing way to guide your customers to their desired results because the format is structured and linear.

And with marketing, there’s always something new to learn and always room to grow. Take courses and gain new certifications so you stay ahead of the curve.

3. Boost Your Cultural Quotient

Your amount of cultural intelligence is what makes you not only aware of cultural differences, but willing to respond to them appropriately. Someone with low cultural intelligence will make a lot of missteps, commit microaggressions, and ignorantly offend others.

But people with a high cultural intelligence are able to respond to cultural changes, even if that simply means asking humble questions so as not to assume anything.

To boost the cultural quotient of everyone on your marketing team, you need to hire a diverse team. When you hire from a variety of backgrounds and create a safe work environment, everyone can learn from each other.

Unfortunately, when customers call out brands, they get dismissed as being too sensitive and engaging in “cancel culture.” You don’t want to deny your audience in that way. You also don’t want to be hit with a PR crisis or break trust.

A high level of cultural awareness throughout your entire team can ensure that your brand is interpreted and recognized the way you intend throughout different microcultures.

So hire a diverse team, and trust them to tell you when something is wrong.

“The biggest issue for me in crisis situations has been when clients won’t acknowledge that they have made a colossal error. They want me to find a way to calm down the comments on Twitter, as opposed to taking responsibility.”

Hiring a diverse team, from different backgrounds and experiences, will also help you create a culture of learning, which goes a long way towards building your cultural quotient as a team. Create space to learn from each other. For example, you could set up connections and interactions with a platform like Donut, so that team members meet people they wouldn’t have otherwise, and can learn from one another.

4. Boost Your Social Quotient

Socially intelligent people have – you guessed it – great social skills. They can pick up on social cues in any situation and adapt to them without complaint.

But social intelligence is not only about knowing the people around you. It’s also about knowing yourself. What are good at? Where can you grow? What activities are worth your time? What aren’t?

When someone has a high level of social awareness, they’re just as curious about themselves.

To boost your social intelligence and get better results in your marketing campaigns, you need to act as a strong customer advocate. Partner with your customers and manage the relationships wisely.

It’s easy to think that only sales representatives need to manage customer relationships, but this isn’t true. As a marketer, you need to act like a content producer, not just a creator. This means you’ll partner with customers and team members to help them share their expertise.

To do so, you often need to ask for favors. Interviewing someone for 30 minutes can feel like an enormous ask when they are busy.

Consider how you can build two-way relationships, instead of just being a taker:

  • Send customers gifts from local businesses in their area (support local while reducing shipping costs and carbon emissions).
  • Offer special one-on-one time with a senior customer support manager or strategist in exchange for their time.
  • Share some of their content on your social media channels (if your audiences align).
  • Connect them with a potential customer or affiliate partner that you know.

5. Boost Your Power Quotient

The last element of creative intelligence is also one of the most interesting. Your power quotient refers to your ability to persuade and influence those around you.

As a marketer, you do this frequently. You’re a broker of power. You offer information that’s educational, entertaining, and inspiring.

You should use your power to persuade customers to do things that will genuinely help them. Get your customers past obstacles, objections, and limited beliefs about what is possible for them.

With Drift Insider, we guide our marketing and sales audience to the right resources to solve their problems.

We know that not everyone will be ready to sign up for Drift right when they hear about us, and we want a way for our audience to really engage with our brand, remember us, and come back whenever they need help.

The most powerful people in the world create an enormous amount of value. A simple way to think about boosting your power quotient is to aim to create more value than you take away in every interaction.

Final Thought

Creative intelligence isn’t just for “creatives.” It’s for everyone, and we can all improve with how we take in information about our customers, respond to it, and innovate around it.

As marketers automate more manual tasks and free up more time, it’s essential that they allocate this time to boosting their creative intelligence.

Consider which of the five elements (Emotional, Intellectual, Cultural, Social, Power) you want your team to grow, and use these ideas to guide you.

For more marketing leadership insights like this, download the guide now and discover what it takes to hire and inspire tomorrow’s marketing leaders – today.