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Marketing success depends, at least partially, on creative strengths. You may have a logically better project, an objectively lower price, and a measurably longer history than your closest competitor, but if your marketing messages are boring or stale, people aren’t going to give them a second glance. Creativity helps you stand out in a world bombarded with advertising, it helps differentiate you from your competitors, and it makes you more memorable in your customers’ minds.
The solution is easy, which is to come up with more creative ideas. Except it isn’t that easy. You can’t force creativity, and sometimes, “creative” isn’t enough for an idea to succeed. But before you find yourself too hopeless, try these strategies to come up with more creative ideas in your own campaigns:
1. Marketing News
Companies are constantly launching new advertising campaigns, some of which are breaking open the stereotypes and challenging the conventions of the industry. The more you know about these ongoing breakthroughs, the more unconventional ideas you’ll be able to work into your campaign. That doesn’t mean you should copy these campaigns, but you can draw inspiration from them. For example, if you hear about a major retailer’s recent guerrilla marketing stunt, you may take that same bravado and apply it to a realm you’re a little more familiar with. Don’t limit yourself to your own industry–there’s a place for this focus as well.
2. Keep An Eye On The Competition
Your competitors probably won’t come up with the same award-winning, attention-grabbing stunts that major brands are pulling, but they’ll have similar goals, products, and audiences as you, meaning you’ll have a more direct line of sight on the campaign’s effectiveness. How are people reacting to this? How can you modify this to suit your own brand? Again, you’ll want to be careful not to duplicate any campaigns you find here; instead, use them as inspiration to fuel your own brainstorming. Keep tabs on them in a social media list, or read up on industry news regularly.
3. Note What Intrigues You
This one extends beyond the digital realm, and has to do with how you live your own life. So many marketers get so bogged down in thinking about what other people might be interested in, they neglect the first-person perspective of the encounter. You may not fit exactly into your company’s target demographics, but if something naturally intrigues you in the natural world, it will probably intrigue someone else. For example, did that bus ad get you to turn your head? Ask yourself why. Did that TV commercial stick in your mind for days? Ask yourself why. Take these elements and introduce them into your next campaign.
4. Target Demographics
If you want to be a creative, effective marketer, you need to know your demographics inside and out. To many, that means performing exhaustive, secondary, quantitative research on demographic trends, but this doesn’t give you an accurate perspective on these people. Instead, strive for a more personal approach–see if you can meet and speak with your customers on a personal, maybe even friendly level. You’ll earn a better understanding of their perspectives, and they might even give you your next creative breakthrough.