Thursday, October 02, 2008
How to Get Creative
When I consult for marketing departments, small or medium sized businesses, I often get asked the question, "How can we get creative with our marketing"? My response is always the same... start with the who. Often the best marketing ideas come from individuals who are not full-time marketers or simply someone who is not on your team.
Start by compiling a diverse set of people to start the creative process. I like to involve colleagues, customers, and marketing people. This often helps to not only generate fresh ideas but to also iterate off already valid ideas or concepts.
All Ideas Are Good Ones
Don't be so quick to dismiss and idea. What would have happened if 3M dismissed the polymer used to create sticky notes? Where would we be today? Keep all of your ideas on the table until everyone has had an opportunity to express their thought related to the idea. Have everyone on the team start the exercise by writing 5 - 10 ideas on a sheet of paper. Then, in an organized manner, go around the table and place each unique idea on a white board. If someone has an idea that has already been presented, then have that individual go to the next idea on his or her list. Once you've gone around the room numerous times and all ideas have been put on the board, open the room up for dialog.
Reign in Your Ideas
There are a number of ways to sort these ideas and explore each one of them. One approach is to start at the top of the list and work your way through, allowing open dialog and debate. The key is to allow individuals to iterate off the ideas and shape new ones. Continue to build and hone your list based on comments, feedback and concerns.
After you've had ample time to share everyones ideas, it's time for a vote. Getting creative with your marketing also means getting honest. Have everyone in the room vote on the top 3 - 5 ideas. Then, get real. Which ideas have merit? Which might work for you? Which present real opportunities.
The Creative Process For Your Marketing
When attempting to come up with new ideas and get creative with your marketing, you must first focus on the who. With the right people in the room - people who think differently, you'll create new ideas.
Once the ideas start t0 flow, allow dialog and open debate. Keep a record of all ideas and start to whittle the list down one at a time. Finally, vote on the your ideas and determine which are most viable. Select the top ideas and form a group to explore each of them with an accountable owner and deadline.
Creating ideas in this way has a tangible outcome and can take your marketing to the next level. So, what are you waiting for, get creative with your marketing!