Marketing is all about testing new ideas, but those ideas have to come from somewhere. Learn what creativity is and tactics for coming up with new ideas.
- [Brad] Hey, and welcome to another Marketing Tip. I'm Brad Batesole, and today we're exploring creativity. Now, I'm an ideas guy and I always have them. My favorite part of marketing is creative problem solving. And it's not necessarily just about coming up with a novel advertising idea. It could be identifying a clever way to build out ad groups, finding a method to better segment data, or even unlocking the right words to convince a journalist to promote a product.
Marketing is all about creativity, clever solutions, innovation, and risk. But just the other day someone asked me how I come about forming new ideas, and how could they get better at being creative? And that got me thinking, I really have no idea. It's a good question. How does creativity work? So, I did what any self-respecting marketer would do, I Googled the shortest query I've probably ever searched, the single word, creativity.
And then I followed the rabbit hole that is Wikipedia. I discovered that this is actually a popular question and many smart minds have invested tremendous energy into researching how creativity works. One of the more recognized theories came from Graham Wallas, and he published a book in 1926 called The Art of Thought. There, he describes creativity as having four stages.
The first stage is preparation. And that's to say all the work that goes into a particular problem and focuses your mind on it to explore the dimensions of it. Following that is incubation. And this is where the problem in internalized into the unconscious mind, and nothing appears to be happening. Now, eventually you'll start to get a feeling that you're close to something. So the third stage is illumination and this is our favorite. It's when that creative idea bursts out into the aha moment.
And finally, verification. And this is where you actually validate the reality of the idea, explore how it would work, and then apply it. So that explain the stages, but how do we get that process going in our heads? Well, we need to really start by understanding preparation. This is very important. If you're marketing a new product, you've got to understand the people you're selling to. Read the literature they're interested in, talk to people about what you're selling and invite critique.
You can even explore loosely related verticals to see if anything draws your interest. Your goal is to get your mind thinking about the problem. I start jotting things down that I notice, or questions I have. Then I'll continue to reread my notes throughout the days, weeks, or even sometimes months. Now the incubation period is tough. So, you've got to give your mind time to reset. You see, there's a real need for distraction here. If you're cramming for that next idea, go for a walk, change your venue, get some rest.
Or, and this might sound a little crazy, but you'll often find the best result by looking at several problems in succession, and then stopping voluntarily to leave that thought unfinished while you go work on other things that you can accomplish right away. So what you want to do is really think about the first problem you need to solve, mill on it for awhile, then stop. And go start thinking about another idea or problem you need to solve. As you start to think you're getting close to something, it's hard to not want to pinpoint the solution.
If you've ever lost a thought and then tried to remember what you were just thinking, you know it's nearly impossible to will yourself to arrive at an answer. You want to stay at that incubation period until it clicks. I wouldn't try and force the answer upon yourself. And then finally, that verification process is still really important. It can be exciting to have the idea, but not every aha moment is a good one. So put the idea down on paper and work to really understand its nuances.
You need to identify how you're going to apply it, how you're going to measure it, and any implications that it might have. You can even work to try and identify new ideas surrounding the one that you just came up with. Now, even though this concept of creativity was put together in the late 1920's, I find it still holds true today. So give it a shot. Thanks for checking in this week. As always, I'd love to hear from you. So follow me on Twitter @bradbatesole, or connect with me on LinkedIn, and let me know how you go about exploring creativity.
I'll see you next week.
Note: Because this is an ongoing series, viewers will not receive a certificate of completion.