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Creatively Marketing Your Business in 2011

Bill Jarrard's picture

Each year at this time we and many other smaller businesses take time to think about the year ahead and how we might be more successful.  Okay I know we should have started months ago, but we were busy then (ever used that excuse yourself) and at least we are doing something now.

Creative MarketingAnd what is the most important business planning we should be doing?  Well business guru Peter Drucker says 'only Marketing and Innovation generate revenue, all other activities are simply costs' so who are we to disagree.  We generally have Innovation covered, so let's quickly look at how we might do a better Marketing job in 2011 with Critical Thinking and Creative Thinking, two aspects we really want to focus on ourselves this year.

If we start with a look at basic Marketing and how to develop your marketing skills, we see a range of stages or aspects, including:

  • Analysing consumer behaviour for specific markets you want to approach
  • Conducting market research on explore what is happening now
  • Profiling the market to segment and target your customers
  • Building client/consumer relationships in your target market
  • Addressing customer needs and communicating how you do this
  • Developing product knowledge to convert into customer value
  • Developing and delivering a presentation to a specific target audience
  • Planning and undertaking specific marketing activities that work
  • Promoting products and services to win in target markets
  • Self managing sales performance and improving marketing efforts

So how do we bring creativity into these 'standard' topic of most basic Marketing subjects?  To start we need to ask where we might effectively use Critical Thinking, which The Critical Thinking Community defines as that mode of thinking - about any subject, content, or problem - in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them.

So how is this Critical Thinking going to help creatively market the business?  Its easy, start by selecting simple processes, tools and techniques Mindwerx has been promoting as Deliberate Creative Thinking for more than 12 years. 

Use Mind Maps to capture and organize information gathered in any of the exploration activities involved in Marketing.  You will be amazed at just how much you already know, and more importantly what areas you know little about.

Use Mind Maps to develop product knowledge, and profile customers and markets, and again to dump ideas down, plan your presentations, and even keep track of existing clients and customers.  Mind Maps are a great tool for building a complete picture of your clients, particularly when done with Mind Mapping software such as iMindMap or MindGenius.

Whether doing the Marketing planning yourself or in a team use parallel thinking techniques such as Edward de Bono's Six Thinking Hats to look at all aspects of the market situation, and again to review your plan, presentations, and performance.

If you are stuck for innovative ideas on how to promote your products or services, or how to reach your customers use lateral thinking techniques like Brain Storming, Random Association and Concept Fanning to first dump down your ideas and then build on them significantly and creatively.

Once you have some innovative ideas that are forming into possibly radical new approaches, you may want to 'test' them using Critical Thinking techniques such as IPPCO (Information, Pluses, Potentials, Concerns, Overcome how), C&S (Consequence and Sequel), and OPV (Other People's Views).  Taking even a few minutes with these simple tools may save you from some serious and expensive marketing mistakes.

And lastly of course you should remember to always adhere to the principles of Continuous Improvement embodied in my mentor W Edwards Deming's model PDSA - Plan, Do, Study, Act

The key to creatively marketing your business lies not just in coming up with wild and innovative ideas, but by using Critical Thinking to think through what you are doing, using simple deliberate thinking techniques and being open to new approaches.  Taking the usual 'hit and miss' approach seemingly so common in Marketing is bound to be expensive.

Marketing is just one of the focus areas we discuss in the Mindwerx Creative Problem Solving and Facilitating Creativity in Teams public and in-house programs we run.  Click here to learn more about these and to see when and where they are available.  And if you are interested in how Mindwerx might work with you to achieve greater success in 2011 email me anytime at bill[at]mindwerx[dot]com.