"Do not follow where the path may lead.
Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. "
- Harold R. McAlindon
Mr. McAlindon, President of the Parthenon Group in Nashville, Tennessee said, “There is a difference between creativity and innovation. Innovation is a creative collaboration. Converting creativity to innovation is a team sport. "
Creative people generate marketing ideas by using stimuli to help them think “outside the box. " But true marketing innovation can only occur when the creative team collaborates, exchanges ideas, refuses to pre-judge and enjoys the process.
Here are five innovation methods you can use to generate profitable marketing ideas quickly. Each team member brings their own unique view of the world to the table. Have at least four people sit together and follow these five steps carefully. Choose one product, service, idea or concept at a time. Work the formula and reap the rewards of creative innovation.
Before you can develop a successful marketing idea, you must have a plan that identifies the need, the problem and the solution to the problem that exposes the opportunity. The most efficient way to do this is to survey your present customers to find out what their needs are and how you are presently meeting those needs. Ask them questions patterned after the questions in this article. With this information, you'll know the hot buttons to push to attract new customers and clients.
Once you know the problem and the opportunity, how do you translate it into a successful new idea?
Ask Who, What, Where, How, When and Why to define the problem. Think about how you can make your product or service better. Consider new markets that you can enter, a more defined, benefit driven unique selling proposition and ways to tweak your product or service. Sometimes a more expensive product or service to a smaller niche market will yield greater profits.
Plan a brainstorming session with your mastermind group. Throw ideas out on the table, don't criticize anything, let your ideas flow. Learn about Mind Mapping and how it can aid you in expanding your creative thinking.
Here are a few ways to jump start your ideas:
Take one idea, concept, USP, niche, service, or marketing strategy you presently have and let each person in your group participate in answering the following questions.
1. What if?
2. How can we improve. . . ?
3. How can we streamline. . . ?
4. What should we modify?
5. What could we replace?
6. What could we add?
7. What should we eliminate?
8. How can we simplify?
9. What two things can we combine to make it better? 10. Why?
Assemble all ideas into an action plan. Prioritize the plan and detail the action steps to get it accomplished. Take action, no matter how small it may seem. Just do something to get your creative juices flowing. Take a walk, listen to music, meditate, exercise, do a crossword puzzle. Test your creative impulses by listening to your inner voice. Write out your plan, first in broad terms (yearly, monthly, weekly) then down to the minute details (daily, hourly).
Measure the action. Test and study possible conclusions. If your test works with one market, it might work with another market with a little tweaking. Test new headlines, new offers and guarantees in your direct mail. Offer bonuses for responding sooner rather than later. Instill a sense of urgency in your message.
Using your new measurements, expand your horizons into new territories. Find a hungry niche market, then develop a series of products that you can sell in a packaged system. Once this niche is successful, sell the method you used to sell to that niche and encourage others to follow your suggestions in “their" niches.
"Innovation is like a road in the country. Where there was never a road, many people walked together, and the road appeared from their efforts. "
- Harold McAlindon
(c) Allan J. Katz, 2005. Reprint rights granted to all venues so long as the article and by-line are reproduced intact and links are made live.
Allan is a Certified Professional Innovator at http://www.loyaltycoach.com and the Marketing Director of http://www.DriveThruPrintingAndMailing.com , a full service, web based Direct Mail Printing Company. For an excellent Marketing Idea Jump Starter, email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for “What's In Store For Your Future. "