Creative work is driving results for today’s businesses, and organizations are seeing the value these team members bring in meeting business objectives—and according to new research from creative leadership trade association InSource and marketing workflow management firm inMotionNow, the role of creatives and designers within organizations is expanding to include more responsibilities.
“When we first partnered with InSource to produce the report, we set out with the objective to determine what in-house creative teams looked like and the impact their work was having on their organization,” said inMotionNow CEO Ben Hartmere, in a news release. “As we reviewed the data and published this year’s report, I could not be more excited about the trajectory of in-house creative teams and how they have evolved to become more strategic partners to the business.”
The survey revealed that 89 percent of respondents think creative work is important to meeting business objectives. Similarly, 87 percent said their organization is giving them the same or more credit for the business results their work delivers for the organization. This greater appreciation for creativity and design is being parlayed into more strategic business duties for creative workers. Two-thirds of respondents said they are being tasked with new responsibilities across company culture, marketing strategy, analytics, customer experience, and even mediation for other teams in the business.
As Andy Brenits, president of InSource, highlighted in his introduction to the report: “In the three years since we began publishing the In-House Creative Management Report, we have seen business leaders increasingly understand the value of the creative team not just for their design work, but also for their talent as creative problem solvers.”
Creative work influences the entire customer journey
When asked specifically how creative helps meet business objectives, creatives pointed to several measurements throughout the customer’s journey:
- Brand recognition (56 percent)
- Engagement metrics (51 percent)
- Lead generation (31 percent)
- Return on investment (31 percent)
Top challenges facing creatives
Respondents identified several challenges as the most significant facing creatives and designers: the speed at which creative teams are expected to work (77 percent); the volume of work (72 percent); being seen as a strategic contributor (63 percent); and the increased variety of digital channels that require creative projects (55 percent).
“There is an old adage that you can choose quality, speed or cost, but not all three. Sometimes two, but never all three,” said Adam Morgan, an executive creative director for Adobe and one of six contributors to the report, in a news release. “So, we say the most important thing is quality creative, but then we measure on speed and efficiency.”
Benchmarks for creative efficiency
The review and approval process for creative work has traditionally been one of the biggest barriers to efficiency, but this year’s survey revealed progress: 83 percent of respondents said creative projects are approved within five or fewer rounds of review, which is an improvement from 77 percent last year. Additionally, 78 percent of projects are approved within a week, up from 65 percent the year before. However, 47 percent of creatives still spend about one full day per week on administrative duties, which is flat from our 2019 survey data (48 percent).
“A big challenge that creative teams have is that they are being asked to do so much, often without stopping to think through what success looks like for any given project,” wrote Ilise Benun, speaker, author and business coach for creative professionals at Marketing Mentor, in the report, according to the release. “That’s a huge problem. If we’re going to change that and give creative teams time to think about how to make a project successful for the business and do the best job, that change has to come from the top.”
The 2020 In-House Creative Management Report, now in its third year, surveyed more than 600 creative and marketing professionals across various industries.