Generating online marketing ideas that stick quickly becomes intimidating in the marketing strategy process, especially since it's the phase at the very beginning.
The path to be taken from the initial idea to the final product for absolutely any idea is a long journey where one often looks back and says, “that turned out much different from our original idea.” I wanted to pull a definition for idea generation so that we are all on the same page:
"The process of creating, developing, and communicating ideas which are abstract, concrete, or visual. The process includes the process of constructing through the idea, innovating the concept, developing the process, and bringing the concept to reality." - Business Dictionary
I am going to save the discussion of communicating, constructing and innovating ideas for a later post. What I do want to discuss is the process of creating ideas, that are abstract, concrete, or visual; the very beginning of the entire online marketing idea generation process. I would like to share 3 methods that I have used for generating ideas that can apply to marketing strategies and will resonate with target audiences because each idea will have an element of proven research behind it.
Listening to Recorded Customer Phone Calls
Going back to the basics with some tried and true market research, we recently received twenty recorded customer phone calls from a client. A teammate and I split the recordings up, listened to them in the background while doing other work, and came back to each other with a few different ideas. One for building a larger asset and the other for basic content that would help customers get information they are looking for. The best part about this idea generation method is that all ideas come from paying attention to the customer.
Spying on Social Groups
Identifying and monitoring LinkedIn groups can be one of the most helpful idea generation methods for businesses in the B2B space. Head over to LinkedIn and type the 2-3 most common terms for your company or client’s product or service. You will quickly find relevant groups to follow. Set 10 minutes aside twice a week to sift through the discussions and you will begin to get an understanding of what the community likes and dislikes, setting yourself up to have an idea for that new blog post.
Spying on Industry Influencers
Identifying and monitoring industry influencers (individuals or brands) for consumer-driven businesses can have the same outcome as above. The research may be a little more extensive as you gather a longer list and may need to pull information from a few different places. However, the outcome should be 50-60 Twitter handles of influencers within an industry. Take the time to add them to a private list on Twitter (if you know a way to scale this step, please let me know.) Setting some time in the weekly calendar to scan this feed will help you understand how these influencers nudge the consumers in their circles providing more opportunities for you to generate ideas.
Closing it out
It takes coming up with a lot of ideas to generate the one big idea that you end up running with. These methods are backed by research and help make the process of generating online marketing ideas feel less like you are standing in front of a giant cliff and more like you have some control over the ideas flowing in and out. If you have any other idea generation methods, please drop them in the comments below. I would love to hear them.