B-Schools like Harvard do offer it as a serious educational qualification, but for those of us on the field, we know that marketing is more of an art than an exact science.
So as is true for learning any form of art, we should start our journey by observing brands and senior professionals for inspiration. The more campaigns, content, and ads we study, the better our creative judgment becomes.
Sure, it can be a little intimidating to see such brilliance at first because it can sow doubts about your own capability or talent. But honestly, it just takes a few years of patience in accumulating thousands of references and techniques.
Soon, you’ll not only start thinking along the same lines but also come up with better, bolder ideas seemingly out of nowhere! Maybe that’s when you’ll realize that this is how your seniors learned the trade, too…
For starters, you’ve got traditional sources like industry blogs, social content aggregators (e.g. Mad Over Marketing or Social Samosa), or YouTube channels. But these can only teach you so much. Someday, you’ll get bored or run out of stuff to learn.
Not a problem! You can expand your horizons by turning to these underrated but equally rich sources for high-quality marketing inspiration. Save this list and send it to your friends!
As the street is filled with more & more noise, brand activation is becoming a must-have survival strategy. Stopping people in their tracks to convey important messages & deliver memorable short experiences is the challenge marketers are up against.
COTW honors the most creative solutions to this problem. I visit it every week to see some of the most daring & impactful campaigns conceptualized by agencies & in-house marketing teams from around the blue planet.
There are ads with really big loud words and impossible promises. Then there’s the more subtle “high-end” genre, which takes a while to understand, but once it clicks, you experience a brilliant “got-it” moment. AOW features such connoisseur-level work with extraordinary direction as well as execution.
They’ve got both video and static. Plus, there’s also a special section of student-submitted ads, standing as a testament to the belief that good marketing can come from any age group!
This is another cool hub like Adweek, following almost an identical format and featuring the same standard of work. However, the filtering options are much better on Adeevee as you can sort by the creative director, country, year, agency, type of media, brand, and industry.
This is an exclusive advertising blog founded in 2009 by 3 students from Belgium. It archives great TV commercials, done both by agencies or in-house teams. So if you’re ever tempted to binge on Netflix, here’s the more productive entertainment alternative you were looking for.
This is another prestigious award you can win as an agency after the likes of Cannes Lions, Clio, and Davey. You can browse the winner campaigns by moving images (video), digital, ambient experience, creative technology, billboards, futuristic concepts, integrated stories, and craft (art direction).
The author of this website (estd. 1999) set out with a mission of hunting copycat marketers to draw the fine line between inspiration and blatant borrowing.
You’ll find loads of recent as well as historical cases of eerily similar ads and brand designs, so take a close look and decide for yourself: unfortunate coincidence or sloppy stealing?
Want to learn how to craft gorgeous-looking newsletters or shopping campaigns that convert huge sales? Look no further than Really Good Emails, a site that compiles emails from top organizations around the world.
It not only presents the design and copy but also confirms whether the email is accessible for all recipients. You can learn some best practices like optimizing it with alt text, metadata, appropriate headings, and other elements.
Honestly, this site in itself is better than any email design course out there!
I also found a nearly identical website called “Milled.com,” which is one of the largest library/collector of email newsletters from popular brands in the West like Steve Madden, Nike, Apple, Zara, and more.
If you worship David Ogilvy and go gaga over witty billboards or banners, then you’ll spend hours soaking in the copy-heavy ads on Swipe-Worthy.
They feature collections like “Classic 90’s long-form ads,” “Brand apology letters,” and “Modern full-page Advertorials,” so this is as close to heaven as you sneaky over-caffeinated copywriters will ever get.
As the Editor of this wonderful library says, “98% of websites nowadays suuuuuck so bad because their copy is so vague, so blasé, so buzzword-y, that you can’t even understand what the heck is the product.”
That’s why they’ve created Great Landing Page Copy, a curation of sites that do the opposite, which is grabbing your attention & conveying information in a way that’s relevant, memorable, and above all, effective in getting visitors to perform the call-to-action (CTA).
In other words, “It’s a little corner of the internet to find great examples of websites that are easy to read, feel relatable and sound like a human, not a robot.”
I visit it whenever I need examples of how to build high-converting, sales-optimized website or ad campaign landing pages for my clients.
In case you don’t find anything useful, here are some similar websites you can also check out for website & landing page design inspiration.
- Landing Folio: Hand-picked UIs for landing, pricing, about, login, and other main pages
- Land Book: A premium collection of ultra-modern design portfolios, blogs, and LPs
Marketing is not about simply being creative for the sake of it. The bottom line is making a sale, so even modern marketers need training in traditional advertising & persuasion techniques from the wonder years of the industry when Mad Men ruled the streets.
For this, I regularly visit Adsets.xyz, which features the top-performing ads for each major industry like tech, education, and F&B. Not only can you spy on your competitors, but simply browsing the ads will give you enough design & copy inspiration to create your own.
The cool feature here is the quality filter, as their team only picks the most effective ads based on internal analysis. So you’ll be replicating from tried & tested methods.
That said, if you want to zoom in on a specific page, say that of a competitor, FB Ads Library will give you an all-access view on their currently running campaigns.
Both these platforms have saved me countless times when I ran out of ideas for creative ads to pitch to my clients.
So that concludes my list of the best places to visit for marketing and/or creative inspiration. Where do you go to do your research? Did I miss any cool sites or tools? Let me know your comments below!