Check Your Ego At The Door.


heck your ego at the door”.

Being able to separate yourself from criticism is a powerful thing. It allows you to look at the bigger picture and see things from outside yourself. It’s not about fault, it’s about a million other things that go into the creative process.

The challenge of creative for direct marketing is there are a billion, no a gazillion right answers. We call them ‘strategies’ (at least I do), and there as many strategies as their are asses at a baseball game.

We focus on words, colors. Sometimes where we place the words, or how big they are can mean the diff between loser vs. breakthrough control. We nitpick, massage, and question everything, so if we get too caught up with being right or wrong, we’ll go crazy. It’s called Scientific Marketing for a reason.

That said, after 30+ years as a Creative, there’s nothing worse than bad feedback from a client. Feedback shows up as a disorganized puzzle, like pick up sticks that you have to sort out, and every proof generates more changes. It’s like trying to read your partner’s mind.

How do I handle ego-challenging feedback?

It helps to surrender to the process. Just take the hit, fix your mistakes and move on for the betterment of the job.

But it’s not always about mistakes. Sometimes it’s just bad feedback.

Do not bend when you’re right and the client is wrong. I recall a project where the client wanted to make major changes that were just wrong. My creative partner defended the job, saying, “we’ll make whatever changes you want, but take my name off of the work. Do not represent it as mine. If you want to risk a losing effort then do it on your own, leave me out of it.”

I was terrified, having not experienced such bravado. I was thinking they were gonna fire us, not pay us, but they took his sage advice, mailed the package with no changes, and it became the control and has been for many years.

Luckily direct response marketing is led by highly experienced, seasoned professionals who know what they’re doing, and trust the Creatives they engage. There is plenty of mutual respect to go around, and any feedback, or pushback is usually accepted with an abundance of respect and consideration.


IngramCS specializes in creating effective marketing and direct response advertising for clients ranging from magazines to mortgage companies.

Specialities include:

  • Subscription Marketing for Magazine Publishers
  • Continuities / Membership Clubs
  • Direct Response TV
  • Services Include:
    • Art Direction & Design
    • Full Creative Direction, Consulting, and Project Management

For more information, contact Dwight Ingram at 919-265-8605, or by email at

Want to win big on your next campaign? Call today and put a proven creative team to work for you!

Dwight IngramCreative Director  |  IngramCS