I have recently been asked a question about how I would explore “creative” marketing from my perspective of Decision Strategy Innovation. Here are my thoughts.
1 – Know Thyself
According to our trusted friend the “Internet”, “Know thyself” is an aphorism (saying) found inscribed in the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, in ancient Greece. While we all think we know or should know what our business is about, and what we are trying to achieve, that’s not always the case. It can be more like we are trying to divine it.
Sometimes we are so focused on what we “think” about our business that we forget to step back and see what is really going on, the bigger visionary picture. For example, we want to have a prosperous dog walking business, but don’t realize that we have to work through a business model to determine if we have the market, price point, support team, etc. Sometimes we want to develop a business and then realize that it doesn’t actually meet the needs of the community with which we are trying to connect, and so on…
It’s good to stop for a minute and see if we really have a clear picture, and our ducks (or puppies) are all in a row. Next…
2 – Know Your Market
Before we can get creative with our marketing, we need to really, really know and understand our market and where to find it. Social Media is the way of the world we live in today, but it is not the exclusive answer, just a tool. So whether Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter are your go-to resources, or a world you are still in the midst of grappling with in order to conquer, many if not most marketing advisers will at least mention these resources as possible lifelines to the world of clients out there who need to know who you are, what you do, and most importantly, “Like” you, want to be your “Friend” and “Follow” you around, hopefully translating to lots of good business for your business.
And then perhaps there are more ideas to be found on how these tools and others can be more powerfully developed and implemented. Once again, before focusing on what ideas for marketing may be more innovative and inventively outside-the-box, we must have a solid grounding as to what’s in the box, how it is or is not working for us, why, and what we can do about it.
So far, this is a lot to tackle and can require a good deal of research, outreach and some trial and error plus a bit of time to work through. But, assuming we have climbed these two fundamental hills then it is time to get creative.
3 – Who You Know?
We may have often heard that it’s who you know and not always what you know that makes you succeed. And you may have already heard that it is helpful to ask around and see who your friends may know as a productive direction toward mining new fields of marketing opportunity. This is a good idea. You can read articles, research on the internet… Troll meet-up groups. Consult gurus. Offer free samples of your work, and on and on to make connections and develop more exposure.
But, rather than just taking the blast approach to all your friends like throwing a can of paint against a wall to come up with a picture, it may be more productive to be both more imaginative and more focused. Yes, it is possible to be both. How?
4 – Spend Personal Subjective Time to Hone Your Core Strategy
Start by doing what works for you to clear your head of all the chatter and advice that you have now spent so much time accumulating. That’s been great, but at this point it’s time for all that info to cook, and then let the ideas come.
Spend some time in contemplation, mentally exploring a world where these ideas are in play. Yes, that’s an old fashioned word, but one I love. (If you need a guided contemplation exercise get in touch). The ideas that emerge may come very rapidly. Don’t be afraid to free associate a bit. If you write quickly then take notes. If you like speaking into your phone or a recording device, then do that.
- Ideas may emerge that you weren’t previously directly aware of, for example:
- Piggyback advertising/marketing your work alongside a complementary business or services organization;
- Adding a service or product to augment the attractiveness of your core offering;
- Engaging in partnering efforts with another party or other parties which offer you marketing exposure;
- Volunteering for events where you are credited and your business along with you receives a shout out;
- Do a trade with someone that will give you marketing exposure;
- Write an article about the work you do or community you serve which will give you exposure as part of an educational effort, and more and more ideas will come.
Most importantly give yourself room to come up with notions and thought forms that seem a bit out there. They can be pulled back in a bit. It’s also not necessary to act on all of them. However, these notions and ideas may not be quite as out there as first imagined. Invention can and does sometimes begin like this. When the intuitive and creative processes are given room to breath, it’s often amazing what these processes can give life to and what wonders may develop. That “aha” moment can be very exciting and stimulate more strategic ideas for far more than marketing.
Danute Debney Shaw, CelaPhontus LLC