“There really are no excuses now,” says Marc Hendry.

His is the top comment on an article posted on Cartoon Brew that announced Toonz Software is set to become open source and available to download for free from Easter weekend.

That may mean nothing to you, but dig a little deeper and the implications are impossible to ignore. The software is an animation industry staple and has been used to make Studio Ghibli’s biggest films (such as Spirited Away) and Futurama.

An animation tool that’s helped produce million-dollar movies that’s free and open source, that’s also set to be developed further? Called OpenToonz, it’s an incredible move at a time when industry-standard Adobe Flash is taking something of a kicking in the marketing world.


Toonz Software is set to become open source and available to download for free


With the web embracing HTML5 and abandoning Flash, OpenToonz is a breath of fresh air and will allow marketers to create things of real beauty, be it video content, banner ads, interactive advertisements, and more.

We’re also mentioning OpenToonz too because SXSW is finally over. The festival hosted in Texas is usually a key indicator on upcoming digital marketing trends, and though this year’s festival was a wee bit lukewarm, the technology coming out of it was mouth-watering.

What we took out of this year’s festival, though, were some incredible apps set to explode which, again, give all the creative power to the user. With so much free creative software out there, it’s become easier than ever before to build a creative inbound marketing campaign.

What do you think? Are we at a point where current technology makes it impossible NOT to be creative, or is it harder than it looks? Let me know in the comments section below.

Flash in the pan?

There’s a lot of talk within the industry at the moment concerning creativity, with some accusing big data and scientific marketing such as targeting of killing off the agency creative.

At the same time, a number of apps were revealed at SXSW that gave people more power than ever before to create unique audio-visual content and share it with an audience. KnowMe and Anchor were two such apps; again, all showing exactly how much power the smartphone now has in our daily lives.

And, to borrow from Marc Hendry, there really is no excuse not to have some creativity in your inbound marketing campaigns with the amount of riches available to download for free.

That, though, sparks a different discussion. Do you really have time to sit and learn about the quirks of OpenToonz while trying to run a business or manage an inbound campaign?


New Technology Shows There's No Excuse To Lack A Creative Strategy


We feel the majority of the answers will be a resounding ‘no’, but if we scroll back a decade there are countless tales of people discovering Adobe Flash, becoming self-taught on the software, and finding a niche to express their creativity.

Two home-grown examples are Salad Fingers creator David Firth and Weebl, who have both cultivated global reputations (and worked on large brands’ advertising campaigns) from nothing more than creating a few simple (and often bizarre) animations on Flash that went viral.

We’re not saying do that, but there are more than enough unique, free options out there to consider when building your creative inbound strategy. You really are only limited by your imagination, and if you don’t have time to learn the software yourself then creative outsourcing opens up a world of people to collaborate with who can also access those free tools.

Which brings us onto something else free we love: social media.

How do you handle creativity when it comes to promoting your business? Do you do it in-house, outsource, collaborate with your community, or other? Let me know below!

Maximise your creative budget

As well as having smartphones in common, those apps at SXSW also had impressive social sharing features available to build audiences and reach out to people. Shorts, for instance, encourages users to share photos from their camera rolls to people nearby, and gives people the option to follow the smartphone galleries of others.

Sounds a bit freaky to us, but again, we’re highlighting that the technology is there, and that the creative marketer and small business can use such a simple thing in unique ways to enhance their business’s profile and attract attention.

That’s so refreshing to know, especially in an age when internet users and the advertising industry are, at best, at loggerheads with each other. There is still little compromise between the adblock industry, content providers and internet users, with numerous websites incorporating different technologies to their offerings.

So the creative, unique strategy is more important than ever online to fulfil a number of jobs at once. Your campaign has to get in front of targeted users, interest them, encourage them into your business’s sales funnel, and potentially go as far as keeping them as long-term customers.


Maximise your creative budget


How you achieve that, though, is one of the most interesting and unique aspects of creative inbound marketing. No campaign is ever the same, and brainstorming around and researching your target market is one of the most exciting parts of the inbound process. How you do it is up to you, but there are enough free tools out there (alongside free analytics and marketing tools) to help you draft your creative vision.

As regular readers will know we stress a lot of importance on creative strategy, and once you’ve got a good idea of what you want to achieve then it’s time to get serious. It’s time to refine it, put some budget aside to target through search and social, and watch your company grow.

Because while good campaigns can start with free tools, great campaigns and businesses grow by also being creative with their budget, putting it in the right places, and targeting the right people with their new creative message.

If you’d like to learn more about internet marketing, social media, and how to build a creative inbound strategy to help grow your business online speak to a Webpresence representative today.