One of the reasons I enjoy digital and social marketing is the dynamic nature of things. The tools & processes we use to engage customers are constantly evolving and opportunities for innovation are around every corner. I started rereading Daniel Pink’s book A Whole New Mind which provides an excellent foundation for creative thinking. The premise of the book is that with automation and outsourcing of jobs overseas many of the repetitive and analytical left brain jobs can be done much cheaper elsewhere. The job market will start to value right brain thinkers who are able to connect the dots to come up with novel approaches. The concepts outlined in the book also work well for digital and social marketers.
Three keys for creative digital marketing:
- Connect the dots. One of they keys for creative thinking is to find relationships between different ideas where none may have existed before. This is very common in digital and social marketing as our customers become more empowered and many of our traditional marketing assumptions are coming into question. We’re forced to rethink our perceptions of customer behavior and how they will want to engage with us in the future and connect them with our traditional marketing efforts and objectives.
- Think holistically. In the past, it was not unusual to have the CMO of an organization or other high level marketing managers think through the overall marketing strategy and the individual marketing managers execute on specific tactics. In the digital and social marketing space it helps if the digital marketers think through the overall marketing plan so their projects aren’t executed in silos. The metrics and return on marketing measurements may be quite different than traditional approaches so the digital teams need to make sure their results are relevant with the company’s marketing strategy.
- Avoid the “how we’ve always done it” trap. In his book, Daniel Pink talks about the basics of drawing – the key is to see relationships with your eyes. One of the big dangers is to place a name or a label on something instead of just drawing what you see. If you view digital marketing in the frame of traditional marketing you may end up missing big opportunities. If you think about your digital efforts in the context of MarCom or PR or lead generation or support you may end up with projects that are similar to what you’ve already done through other channels. Look at the objectives of your project and visualize fresh ways to engage with your customers or how they would want to engage with you. Don’t think of the traditional labels – think of the results you want.
One of my favorite quotes is, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” It’s a good time for a change.