How do you differentiate your company from other brands? How do you sell people a product they are not used to? And how is all this possible without a marketing department?
John Schoolcraft, Chief Creative Officer at Oatly, has an answer to all these questions. In 2012, Schoolcraft teamed up with CEO Toni Petersson to transform a 30-year-old oat drink maker into a global movement dedicated to promoting more sustainable lifestyles.
We agreed with Schoolcraft on Applied Sciences 2022 and learned how Oatly created a thriving marketing strategy…with no marketing department. To see his insights in full, watch the video at the top of this article. Alternatively you can check it out here.
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During the conversation, Schoolcraft explains how marketing at Oatly is different from other companies. And it all started with his idea to kill off the marketing department and replace it with a team of creatives.
“It’s a completely different system,” he told us. While a creative still focuses on advertising, content creation and communication, their approach is different from that of a marketer. In Schoolcraft’s words, marketers are “approvers” and creatives are “makers.”
As we moved on to discuss the issues with marketing, he pointed to the marketing department’s focus on data. “What they don’t realize is that all brands are drawing from the same data, which means they’re doing the same thing,” he explains. “Creatives, on the other hand,” he continued, “are naturally embedded in culture and find their inspiration elsewhere.”
This doesn’t mean that Schoolcraft advises every company to smash its marketing department. But he does believe that smaller companies should prioritize finding people who can actually create the brand, rather than just interpreting data.