What’s the Big Idea?
By Steven Powell
Planning on doing a little marketing for your business? Then you need the BIG IDEA! You know, a unique marketing concept that catches people’s attention long enough to slip a particular sales message or call to action past their over-burdened, ever-wary consumer defenses. Ideas like, “Where’s The Beef”, “It’s The Real Thing”, “I Can’t Believe I Ate The Whole Thing!”
The BIG IDEA sold more VCRs than its far superior competitor, Betamax. The BIG IDEA turned a little-known German import car into an American icon named “The Beetle”. The BIG IDEA is what made H&R Block – well – H&R Block.
Gee, if only you had a BIG IDEA. You could be on the next cover of Entrepreneur Magazine! But, before you order that private jet, let’s think this through. Have you done the “due diligence” necessary to the success of any great idea? The research? The planning? You know, the hard stuff.
Ask yourself the following questions: What are you selling, specifically? Who are you selling to? Why should THEY buy your product or service? Why should THEY buy it from you? What do you really want to say to THEM?
Jumble the answers all together in your head until they’re second nature. Live and breathe this stuff – get to really “know” your product or service offering(s). Got it?
Okay, now define your marketing message. Not the exact words or pictures yet, but the essential message you want to send to the world. It might be based on price benefits, quality, convenience, problem solving or any of dozens of other possibilities. This is the whole reason you’re here in the first place, remember? Don’t treat this lightly or you’ll regret it down the road.
Next question: What are you trying to accomplish with this marketing vehicle or campaign? Are you trying to actually make sales? Generate leads? Soften the way for other sales efforts by getting your name/brand out there? Is it a reasonable goal or an outlandish dream? As any agency rep can attest to, managing a client’s expectations is often the most difficult part of the job.
It’s time to begin thinking about ideas. Not The BIG IDEA – not yet. Just ideas. Lots of them. Scribble them on napkins in diners. Keep an idea pad by your bed at night. Schedule an hour of your time during the work day for this – treat it that importantly. Challenge yourself – How many ideas can you come up with in an hour? Good ones, bad ones, obvious ones, impractical ones. List them all.
Now, cross out all the obviously bad or impractical entries and make a new list with the “good” ones. Now, cut this list in half by having the courage to throw away anything less than exciting. Be harsh. Assuming these ideas truly reflect your marketing message, the only criteria remaining are potential impact on your targeted market and the practicality of an idea’s execution.
Remember, you want to grab their attention. You don’t want to offend, but you do want to disturb THEIR sense of normalcy and force Them to pay attention to what you’re saying. If you can do that – in print ads, radio spots, flyers, or sales conversations – then you have a chance at closing the sale.
That’s the only point of The BIG IDEA, after all. Grab Their attention long enough to accomplish your goals.
That’s the Biggest Idea of all.
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