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Same old same old just doesn’t sell anymore. To make your marketing stand out, you need to get creative. Below are five tips designed to get your creative juices flowing. Some are brainteasers or are what Michael Michalko in “Thinkertoys” calls Linear Thinkertoys. Others fall under intuition or Intuitive Thinkertoys.
Some tips may appeal to you more than others. My suggestion is to try them all. Even the ones you’re not drawn to may still open some doors that wouldn’t have opened any other way.
These tips will work whether you sell a product, a service or both.
1. Find the “second right answer.” Roger von Oech talks about this in A Whack on the Side of the Head. Don’t be content with the first good idea you come up with. Take the time to think of a second, or third or 50th idea. Quantity counts – the more ideas you have to choose from, the more likely you’ll discover an excellent or even a brilliant one. Remember, Thomas Edison discovered thousands of ways a light bulb didn’t work.
2. Change the question. If you change the question, you’re probably going to get a different answer. You say you want to sell more products? What if you changed the question to how can you make more money? Well, there are other ways to make more money than to sell more products – maybe you lower the cost of making the product or you raise the price of the product. Now you suddenly have new avenues to explore rather than just going down the same tired path.
3. Ask your product or service how it wants to be sold. Now we move into more intuitive techniques. Start by getting yourself into a relaxed state. Take a few deep breaths or practice some relaxation techniques. Imagine your product or service in front of you. Now ask it questions. Who do you want to be sold to? How do you want to be sold? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? Who do you think you can help? Why do you want to help them? You can also do this technique as a journal exercise. Write down the question and answer. See what bubbles up onto the paper.
4. Paint a public relations campaign. What would a press release look like if you painted it? Or sculpted it? How about a dance number? A collage? Take any part of your marketing that troubles you and turn it into a piece of art. By combining two dissimilar acts, you may discover your answer. Or you may not come up with anything at all, but just the act of “playing” and “creating” could jolt something loose. Hours or days later your idea may suddenly end up in your lap.
5. Walk away from it. If nothing is working, then stop. You can literally walk away by taking a walk, or just quit thinking about it. This is especially important if you find yourself getting frustrated or discouraged. Give your subconscious time to mull things over. The idea may just suddenly appear to you. Or, after a few days, try another exercise or two. That may be the catalyst you need.
The most important tip of all? Make sure you have a blast. Being creative should be fun. Keep it light and fun, don’t struggle too hard with it, and see how many ideas you’re rewarded with.