We design trash. That's not say say that we don't create awesome looking stuff, it's just the reality of what happens to it. (check out my prezi on this)
Magazines, newspapers, direct mail, coupons, web banners, emails, videos, etc are all consumable and all end up in the trash. The designers that realize this, usually end up getting off of their lofty high horse and creating some truly great pieces that meet the objectives. The ones who don't realize this, live in a frustratingly delusional world where they think that they're creating works of fine art. They end up feeling unfulfilled and are not doing their clients any favors.
Our goal should be to keep our marketing out of the trash for as long as possible and to create something worth saving and sharing. Don't get me wrong. I think we should strive to create truly creative stuff that really grabs people and totally stretch the limits... Just keep in mind that it's going to end up in the garbage, not displayed in an exhibit.
Keeping this in mind shouldn't diminish the creativity of a piece, but it should keep the piece solidly grounded in meeting the objectives of the campaign. I actually believe that knowing your work has a limited life span will push you to create better work.
I always ask myself this question during my process:
What can I do to keep this out of the trash as long as possible?