If marketing brainstorming isn't part of your strategic process, you need to add it. It's highly effective, and highly addictive in a good way.
Some of the best ideas that I've ever had for new business opportunities have happened over a cup of coffee or over lunch or dinner. They weren't necessarily planned ahead of time to be a meeting to discover and develop the “killer app” or the “great idea,” but they just turned out that way. So I've thought about how they were accomplished and what resources were in play.
Here's what were the common resources involved in coming up with great concepts in the marketing brainstorming process:
It starts when you have people who think well and be willing to participate in a creative discussion during that moment.
Sure, that last statement may seem too simple. But it's not. First, there is an assumption that certain people can't participate in a creative discussion. That's false. Everyone can contribute to the discussion. What you want is for people to help you come up with an idea and develop it. You may get someone who can envision a logo and colors for a new business, and that's really cool. But you can also learn from someone who is excellent at developing a customer transaction process that is memorable and that's just as beneficial. Everyone has their contribution. If you can organize a way for all of them to sit down and talk about it, you're on a good start.
The process succeeds when someone is in charge and can put people in the right roles and in the right environments.
You need someone who can spark the conversation with provocative thoughts and active discussions – and then keep those thoughts and discussions moving forward. This is not a process where someone drives the conversation and doesn't allow others to have a valuable contribution. No, this is a person who gets people to talk and is able to see how their ideas and skills can contribute to the process. This doesn't have to be the person in charge of the organization. In fact, some situations are better when the highest ranking member of the organization is able to sit back and listen to others' contributions. Instead, allow someone to be the facilitator and encourage them to prompt others to be involved and to contribute.
Keep the formalities to a minimum and building the structure in the future.
If you try to figure out everything when you start, you will end up slowing down to a crawl. Don't worry about the details right away. Just have fun dreaming. Write down as much as you can at each time you can work on your ideas. Review what you've wrote and come back often. As your subconscious thoughts work through your ideas, you'll find that you come up with ideas – sometimes when you don't think you're thinking about them. Put the additional ideas and thoughts into your documentation and you'll find that a pattern will start to develop. Don't reject anything right away. If you think that something doesn't fit, put it into another document or create a new one.
Keep all of your marketing brainstorming ideas in one easy-to-access location.
Don't keep your thoughts and ideas to yourself – share them! Get others involved and provide access to one centrally-accessible location. We work with Evernote as it is a great place to write about ideas and concepts in a “shareable” environment. There are other apps that work well, too. Find one that is easily used on everyone's different devices and test it out to see how easily it works. If you find that the app is difficult to deal with, look for one that is better. You want to make this process as easy and simple to use as possible. Encourage others to set things up so that they can do the same. You want to invite others to “drop by” and look at what you're doing – and to give you additional ideas.
If you would like to get a free account for Evernote, click here. We do receive compensation from Evernote, but it is at no cost to you.
There's a lot of good stuff that is created out there. Be flexible and be excited about the possibilities you can gain by working on your marketing brainstorming!