Creative Strategist Vs Creative Director

Creative jobs don't always mean you're working in paint or film. All good marketing needs strategists and analysts and this article gives you information about two skilled careers in the creative marketing field.

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Comparing Creative Strategists to Creative Directors

Creative strategists and creative directors might be teammates but they each have very different responsibilities. Creative strategists work on identifying the audience for a marketing campaign and the strategy to reach them. Creative directors, like art directors, work to make those strategies a reality. Below is a comparison of these two careers along with some vital statistics.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary Job Growth (2014-2024)
Creative Strategist Bachelor's degree $59,373* (for all creative strategist - 2017) 14%** (for all market research analysts and marketing specialists)
Creative Director Bachelor's degree $89,820** (for all art directors - 2016) 2%** (for all art directors)

Sources: *Payscale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Creative Strategists vs. Creative Directors

Creative strategists are team members who work with large clients to use their expertise to strategize with clients and team members to come up with a plan that will cross a variety of media platforms. Creative directors will oversee artistic teams who will bring the plan to fruition overall and within certain media outlets. Strategists devise the plan, directors create the plan and put it to work.

Creative Strategist

Creative strategists are the experts in thinking outside of the box to come up with media plans to reach as large an audience as possible or to reach a specific audience type. These men and women are able to devise ideas to reach the client's needs by coming up with strategies across a variety of mediums like television, radio or internet. Strategists do what they can to help clients get the word out and stay on their budget.

Job responsibilities of a creative strategist include:

  • Come up with a broad understanding of the client and their needs
  • Collaborate with various teams
  • Create content briefs of the agreed upon strategies
  • Utilize any and all research and data for future sales strategies
  • Analyze new data to update program's status

Creative Director

The creative director might be the person in charge of driving the team's television commercial concept or radio ad or billboard campaign. They will formulate specific creative plans based on the team's strategy decisions. They will hire artists, directors, writers, and all other creative personnel to fulfill the needs of the client and team. Creative directors use the budgets they have to create the art that will sell a product, promote a candidate, or fulfill the sales goals.

Job responsibilities of a creative director include:

  • Promote basic designs for initial presentation
  • Research client, product and/or promotion ideas
  • Collaborate with artists, art directors or photographers
  • Create themes to be used by team members as their creative influence
  • Approve all artwork, photography and text before publishing

Related Careers

Creative strategists and creative directors commonly work on the same team doing different tasks. There are several related career fields associated with these jobs. For instance strategist might become management analysts doing research and production analysis. On the other hand, a creative director might look into production management overseeing the timeline on a marketing production and making sure it meets budget and schedule.

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