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How Do We Know It's Good? Evaluating Creative with the Four Pillars of Performance

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” - John Wanamaker

It’s certainly easy for a marketer today to find themselves spinning amidst the chaos of the ever-fragmenting media landscape.

Though there are many elements that determine the success of a campaign, creative is a key component. Without the right creative – you’re throwing away your money.

We’ve cut through the chaos and dissected what makes creative a success from a performance standpoint. It really comes down to 4 key elements: Does it perform? Is it engaging? Is it adaptable? And, can it endure? We call these the Four Pillars of Performance Creative:

Perform. The role of performance creative is to encourage an action – think clicks, visits, calls, downloads, purchases, RFIs. Performance marketing is not limited to digital, but is ANY marketing tactic – search, social, radio, connected TV, linear TV – whose goal is to generate leads and turn them into revenue.

Engage. Whether the creative is solving a problem, sharing interesting facts or insights, is very relatable, localized, or timely, or just plain fun – great performance creative captures our attention and drives action around a specific product or service offering. It must engage your audience across a complex media ecosystem, in ways that they prefer to interact.

Adapt. As audiences and platforms continue to fragment, performance creative must work even harder. You must engage audiences differently depending on the platform they are on. Great creative must adapt quickly to keep up with (or create) demand for your brand's product or service - seamlessly changing alongside audiences, relentless testing, and infinite optimization. All without losing what makes it engaging in the first place.

Endure. Creative must strike a balance between a brand’s essence and the urgency to make a viewer respond. Great performance creative allows your brand to endure. It enhances and strengthens your position in the marketplace and appeals to different audiences in different ways over time. It should support your brand while selling the product. So, while the content or the delivery and approach of the message may change after rounds of testing and optimization, the idea and execution should continue to outperform itself – while remaining true to your brand's standards.

These four pillars serve as the foundation of our performance creative rating tool, the G-Meter, and certainly help us separate the great from the not so-great – which is tough to do when audiences and benchmarks keep moving! We’ve cut our teeth in direct response and grown our careers alongside digital marketing – so we’ve seen and built it all. We are leaning into this experience when developing performance creative specifically, whether it’s traditional DRTV, a suite of display and social ads, connected TV or a mix of these. One thing we do know – it’s a rapidly changing creative world and we will need to adapt just as quickly.

Reach out here if you would like us to rate your performance creative with the G-Meter.

About the author

Anna V Fowles, Executive Vice President, Performance Creative

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