Here’s how to generate ideas from anything (+13 ideas for your marketing)
This article gives you 13 creative ideas for your marketing, but that’s not enough.
I’ll show you what to do to generate ideas always. Whenever you have a campaign, or you need to impress your partner, or you need to come up with a new lead generation process. In other words: always.
According to some sources, Netflix was born as the two founders, Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph, wanted to do DVD rental using Amazon’s business model. Before that, you could rent a DVD only if you picked it up in person, but they wanted to do this online.
Then, in 2007, they started their streaming service. They were asking for a monthly fee, which was not a novelty in itself (as a business model), because the subscription has been common in fitness centers or magazines for decades. But TV has been revolutionized, and Netflix has become a major competitor.
Think outside the box
Get something that works well and then use it in a whole different industry, in a different environment. This is what they call thinking “outside the box”.
The bottom line is: break away from the usual, and change common formulas to something novel, something not common in your industry, and smash through the boundaries. Thinking outside the box is a skill that anyone can learn through practice, and then you will be a constant source of gloriously good ideas.
I’ll show you how. Step by step.
First, let’s see what the wrong way is:
The wrong way is if you start watching your competitors’ ads and creative right before you have to launch your campaign, and copying their methods.
This rush will lead to below average results.
Instead, you need to completely change your mindset. Forget phrases like “But I have an online store”; “In my industry, this won’t work.”; “This is so dumb, and yet they buy it”; “Who’s watching this stupid thing!” If you can do this (not easy!), you’re halfway there.
Inspiration from the grocery store
Let’s go to the grocery store, but not buying food for dinner, but inspiration for your next campaign.
At the meat counter you can ask the butcher for the exact amount you want, but you can buy it from the shelf, pre-packaged and usually weighing the same. (1) Can your customers buy bundled packs of cosmetics if they don’t want to go through the whole store? Can they watch your live training in a video-course ‘info product’ version?
Let’s move on to the bakery. They ran out of the turnovers, but you can see they are ready inside the bakery and on the shelf. They smell good, customers are already looking forward when thy bring them out. (2) If something is not available in your webstore, do you have a note when they will be available again? Can they pre-order things that are not on stock? If you make a craft product, you can show a video of how you make the next one and when they can buy it? If you do online training, you don’t always have to be available: while it’s not for sale, they can watch a sneak peek.
You couldn’t resist the turnovers, so you head to the checkout. You don’t have a membership card, so the receipt shows you how many points you would have earned for this purchase. (3) You have an idea to write on your landing page: “If you had started this training a year ago, here’s where you would be now.”
(4) Or you decide to show what those bodies who have been following your workouts for 6 months will look like. Another six months from now, your prospects can have a body like this – or they will regret that they didn’t take action again. After the deadline, you can send an email about how much they have lost.
So many ideas, just at the grocery store!
If you start with this approach, you will see inspiration everywhere
Your bank sends your new credit card and PIN separately. (5) What if you send a separate email to your VIP members with a unique code that only they can use on the landing page? Or what if you have a PIN number in the box you use to ship the product that would give customers access to a limited, special offer?
You watch the trailers in the movies. (6) Write on your phone that during your next training session you will show videos of sneak peeks of your other training sessions instead of your logo while the participants are gathering. (7) You are watching the movie and get an idea to make short trailer videos about the new product you are working on.
Start collecting everything
As you have seen, anything from a bank to a yoga class to a kid’s school diploma can be your next big idea. For this, be sure to collect examples – take pictures or screen shots of creative materials, advertisements, flyers, catalogs, articles where you see a good idea. It is worth saving them in a separate folder and then segment them over time so that you can use them for text, design, pricing (etc.). You can always come back here for inspiration.
No bottom line
The best practice is to try to rewrite every possible visual (billboard, magazine, banner) to fit your own brand and product with as little change as possible. You don’t have to use them, but this helps train your brain to be creative and pick things up.
(8) It’s very effective when you apply a cliché term used in a particular context. “No bottom line, no hidden commitments”- by referring to the legal language usually lawyers use, everyone knows that this means you have nothing to hide.
If you write “18+” then everyone wants to check it out because … just because, I don’t have to explain why. Whether it’s your latest wine collection, a team builder camp at the casino, or your awesome, addictive massage.
Inspiration for design
If you want to build a campaign or landing page based on a particular concept, a real document or design element can be a good inspiration.
(9) There are universal elements that will make your customers feel that you have something important to look at. There’s even the “Strictly Confidential” stamp, which makes the copy’s visuals more exciting, or the yellow-black ribbon band around the workspaces, that has the message: Attention, Caution!
Every industry has its usual pricing model that everyone knows. We pay the attorney for each consultation, we pay our annual fee for our Amazon Prime memberships, we pay for the toll road either each use, or on a monthly or annual subscription.
Twist the standard conventions to get more attention.
(10) Check out the pricing in the AVON catalog. If you buy from these three pages, you can buy this lipstick cheaper. If you buy this shampoo, you will get one more. Gather examples and see what could be better for your own business than the usual methods.
Reality show, infomercials, Teleshop
These TV shows are not the highest level of marketing, but they work. And you, as a marketer, have to watch them and gather ideas.
(11) You can create a “behind-the-scenes” reality show about life at your company (look at the TV and reality shows).
(12) You can use a series of articles to show how your client sets up and starts a business or how an event is organized in your hotel. Build a hook or an open ending at the end of each episode, so people will be excited about the next one.
(13) And if you watch some of the Teleshop videos, you’ll can get many ideas about your next landing page or a sales video. You don’t have to adopt their style, just observe the structure and why it works.
If you follow the steps above, you will keep coming up with ideas. You will be the star of the office meetings with many smart ideas and concepts and be able to inspire urgency to act on them right away.
But don’t forget: just because something works for one person, doesn’t mean that it will work for you. Without proper testing, you won’t know you have in a proven system or method for a seemingly brilliant idea.
Good ideas are important, but keep in mind that a well-implemented “average” concept will always bring more to the table than the best idea in the world if it never gets launched.