What’s your title? Is it “Marketing Manager?” Or “VP/Marketing?” Or “Chief Marketing Officer?” I was in a client meeting the other day, and the marketing boss, Amy, had an interesting title: Chief Creative Officer. In the ad agency world, this title might suggest someone who is in charge of the staff that develops ad campaigns, including the ad copy, storyboards, TV commercials, radio commercials, etc. In other (oversimplified) words, it’s the idea boss.
But Amy doesn’t work for an ad agency. Amy works for a local business that provides medical care to children and adults at a variety of centers throughout the DC and Baltimore metro areas. And it struck me that idea generation is so important to them that the CEO put “Creative” in Amy’s title.
It was a fun meeting too! While we were there to present our ideas, other ideas came up. Those participating in the meeting not only asked questions, they took an active role in helping develop these new ideas and seemed extremely engaged throughout our time together. Don’t get me wrong... most of our clients like ideas. But this particular meeting stood out to me as above average, and I can only guess that it has to do with their internal focus on “creativity.”
It got me thinking... are we marketing people... or are we really idea people? Are we recycling the same offer year after year, or are we consistently coming up with new ideas to engage customers?
I know... I know... it’s tough to come up with new ideas. If you’re in this camp, consider the words of Linus Pauling (1901-1994, Chemist, Peace Activist and Author) who said, "The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas."
Enter brainstorming. Need an idea? Brainstorm! Stuck on a problem? Brainstorm! And it applies to more than just marketing. When my wife couldn’t control her chocolate addiction, my kids and I brainstormed ways to “protect” their stash of Halloween candy. (We ended up buying a file box with a combination lock, and all is well in our house now.)
Here are 5 “musts” when it comes to brainstorming:1. Define the objective
- What are you trying to make happen?
- The more specific your definition, the better ideas you will come up with
- The objective is usually most effective in question form. For example: “How can we generate $1M in incremental revenue next year?”
- Creativity is a talent and is not limited by job title or department
- You will be surprised where good ideas come from…the best ideas often bubble up from those NOT on your marketing team
- That is the purpose of doing a brainstorming session in the 1st place
- I am always amazed when a client goes with idea #150 out of a list of 151
- Had they stopped at 100, they would never have thought up the BEST idea
- Toss out any preconceived ideas you have, especially if your goal is to provide “proof” that you should continue with the status quo or go with one of your 1st few ideas
- An effective brainstorming session will lead to new ideas and improve upon existing ones
- That part is easy
- We have written a step by step guide to an effective brainstorming session
- Click the icon below to download your free brainstorming eBook
To help you conduct the most productive and effective brainstorming session, we created a free eBook, the Brainstorming Guide to Marketing Effectiveness. It is a step by step guide that makes brainstorming easy. The simple rules and guidelines will help you and your marketing team maximize ideas and stay focused throughout your brainstorming session. Click here to download our Brainstorming Guide to Marketing Effectiveness.