The best marketing efforts are creative in some way. This can show up in the concept, the visuals, the content, and/or the call to action. There’s no doubt creativity is an important piece of successful marketing campaigns. Here are some great ways to get creative and stay creative with your marketing initiatives.
1) Adopt Healthy Measurement Habits
You need to start with some healthy measurement habits. You company needs to be measuring important things like website traffic, social media KPIs, and email click through rates. These numbers are the marketing version of your BMI or blood pressure; they can help you determine the heath of your efforts. Every company and campaign might be different so you need to determine what numbers are healthy/normal for you. What does this have to do with creativity? Examining your key metrics can help you identify new opportunities and areas where you may be able to get creative. And if you can’t tell your boss what’s working/not working, you probably won’t get many opportunities to use your creativity.
2) Define Your Goals in Detail
Once you start measuring (or before, if you’re smart), you should make sure to define your goals. Write out all of the details of your goals. Do you want to increase Facebook likes? Blog traffic? Leads? By how much? Over what period of time? Once you have a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish, it will be easier to find creative paths to achieve those goals.
3) Discover New Concepts
Being creative means that you should be curious and willing to learn new things. Read books like Unmarketing, Engage!, Smarter, Faster, Cheaper, Spent, and maybe some books by Malcolm Gladwell. Read marketing blogs and use RSS feeds and a feed reader, such as Google Reader, to keep up with what’s new and interesting. Watch Ted Talks, conference streams, and other educational videos. Attend networking and speaking events. When you come across things that you find interesting, useful or inspiring, go ahead and bookmark, underline, dog-ear, write it down, tweet it, share it on Facebook and revisit it later.
When you do all of these things (not a once, but over time) you are increasing your exposure to new concepts. And your brain will connect old ideas with new ideas. New ideas will form on top of old ideas, and you’ll increase your creative capacity.
4) Think Outside the Box…But Also Get In It
A cliche in a post about being creative? Here’s a different spin from Christopher Peterson, Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan. “If you never venture outside the box, you will probably not be creative. But if you never get inside the box, you will certainly be stupid.” The point is that you have to know what you have done in the past (with your marketing efforts) and what you are doing now in order to be most creative. Then you can think outside of the box and start brainstorming. Write everything down that come to your mind. And see what happens.
5) Embrace Organization
To be really creative, you need some sort of organization system so you don’t forget good ideas and/or waste precious time trying to find them. Have a place to write all of your ideas down and organize them. Try a notebook, Evernote, the Notes app for iPhone, a Word document, etc. Do whatever works for you. You just need to try to keep everything in a central location.
What tips do you have for being more creative with your marketing ideas and efforts?