Which is More Important – Copy or Process?

There are many marketers out there who stand firmly on one side or the other of this common argument.

Which is more important to the success and ROI of your marketing campaigns:

A) The What – how it looks, what it says

B) The How – the strategy or process behind “the what”, the reason why and the timing, etc.

To clarify further, let’s take one specific example. Let’s say your company decides to create an email that goes out to all first time customers one week after they join, offering 10% off their next purchase. And let’s say this campaign is very effective at getting repeat business. Is it because of the witty subject line, the brilliant email design, or simply the fact that you’re sending the email in the first place?

There is no definitive answer, of course. And it is certainly some combination of both, of course. But I’m here to argue for the process.

We have a tendency to get all caught up in the way something looks and the choice of words in our messaging. Design and copywriting are fun. Creative is sexy.

But we would be nothing without the underlying strategy. The decision to do something (and how and when to do it) must precede the creative decisions. And often, it’s the strategy that will impact effectiveness of a campaign vs. the end product. Which is not to say that creative isn’t important, and that we shouldn’t test creative to improve performance over time. But let’s not get so caught up on every little word that we lose sight of the decisions that really matter.