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Rethinking the relationship between the media and creative departments

Updated: Sep 23, 2021

Successful ad campaigns are the direct result of a seamlessly integrated partnership between media teams and creative teams. While the relationship between the two has a reputation of being complex and precarious, it doesn’t have to be. Media and Creative share a common end goal, to help bring about results for their clients.

As the Creative Director at the Ampersand Agency, working with the media team at Exclamation Media has become second nature. At the beginning of our partnership, Jeff Montgomery, Partner at Exclamation, said it best — “It doesn’t matter how brilliant our media plan is. If the ads aren’t creatively strong,

then the results are going to be weak”. Since then, it’s been easy to see the value our media and creative partnership brings to our client’s business. The key is collaborating early and often throughout the life of a campaign.

A great media strategy won’t save bad creative executions. And great creative content isn’t worth doing if it's not placed in front of the right people at the right time. How an ad makes the viewer feel is equally as important as where it runs. On average, a person sees between 6,000 and 10,000 ads every single day. Now more than ever, it’s important for creative to visually appeal and emotionally connect with the viewer to capture their attention online. This begs the question; how can you foster a mutually beneficial relationship between media and creative to maximize client success?

Build the Relationship on Transparent Communication

The real magic happens when both teams come together and talk about what worked and what didn’t work. Once ads are live, the creative team is hands-off. If the media team doesn't report back on ad performance, the Creative team is left guessing. Prioritize bi-weekly or monthly meetings to help bridge the gap between both teams to eliminate any unnecessary guesswork.

When communicating, the Media team needs to be transparent about the creative ad performance so that the Creative team ca

n understand what trends and patterns are present in the data. Transparent communication is what builds trust. Media and Creative teams should have an open dialogue and feel comfortable asking each other questions. Not all creative will knock it out of the park right out of the gate with the target audience. Knowing when to pivot and evolve creative direction is how smarter ads for tomorrow are born.

Put Creative Content to the Test


When testing creative work, it’s always smart to A/B test and make one or two tweaks at a time. For example, testing the placement and color of a CTA button to see which drives more clicks. Or testing the same image with two or three different types of copy to see which messaging connects best. Limiting the number of elements you change at one time makes it easier to optimize moving based on the data.

Too many marketers test for the s

ake of testing without clear goals in mind. Make sure that creative testing aligns with the campaign objectives. Ask yourself, “what are we trying to learn by adjusting the creative?” Instead of immediately diving in, making haphazard changes and hoping it will help you find out what your prospects will click on. Strategic thinking should drive your creative decisions to help you discover what your target audience cares about the most. Trust the insights the Media team gives you to guide you as you create stronger creative to drive bigger results.

Use Creatives Refreshes to Prevent Ad Fatigue


The lifespan of creative content is only good for so long. With online users seeing so many advertisements a day across various platforms, creative refreshes are often necessary to maintain relevance and ad performance over time. Planning ahead is essential when it comes to implementing a creative refresh. If you wait too long creative content starts to lose its effectiveness to connect with target audience, as a result, ads will start to see a drop off in key performance

indicators (KPIs).

A creative refresh is a perfect opportunity to reengage with your target audience and test out new creative content to boost ad performance. Our work gets stronger when the Creative team learns along with the Media team that the data is moving in the right direction and backs up the optimizations made to the creative executions. When these adjustments are successful, it adds fuel to the creative fire and keeps the entire team inspired to create more engaging content that aligns with the media strategy.

Remember, collaboration is a buzzword for good reason. Strong creative is the backbone of a successful media plan. A media plan only gets stronger the more intertwined the Media and Creative teams are. The more we talk about the work, the better the work gets. (And, just as important, we have more fun doing it too.)

If you’re ready to amp up your media strategy with stronger creative, we’re ready to help. Reach out to the Exclamation Media team today and let’s chat about your media goals and how we can help you reach them!



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