How To Brainstorm: Marketing Strategy
July 18, 2011 6 Comments
Will a brainstorm group give your marketing strategy focus?
Yes, it will… and likely quite a bit more. Here’s why.
Brainstorming rewards innovative thinking. It’s about problem solving and thinking outside the box. So, use brainstorming when you want to:
- Generate new ideas
- Enhance team and cross-functional communication
- Uncover a competitive advantage for an organization or a product / service
- Break away from what everyone else is doing
A brainstorm group is a great way for your team, customers or prospects to contribute in an innovative way and focus on innovation and creative ideas. It’s also a great way for them to feel a sense of ownership as they see the outcome as a marketing strategy and strategic plan.
After a brainstorm session it’s time to move into the next phase and build on the generated ideas. This is when analyze and evaluate turns into solutions.
Brainstorm Only One Objective
Have only one clearly defined objective to brainstorm. Develop it as a focused statement that outlines your problem or need. You’ll find that one objective will flourish into many ideas for your marketing strategy.
As a brainstorming facilitator I often get insight into a situation beyond the expected and find that the solution for the brainstorm session is some combination of unique solutions. And, because I’m arms length from the organization that hired me, I get clear – unbiased information.
How To Assemble A Brainstorm Group
Only when you have your objective defined should you begin to hand-pick the participants. A small group of 4 – 8 people is often ideal because they’ll relax and interact well. A large group will likely mean some voices will dominate while some good ideas will not get mentioned.
Within a small group, one person’s ideas will set off a chain reaction of creative thoughts by the other participants… thereby producing even more new and / or extended ideas.
If you have a bigger team or want a larger sample I recommend multiple groups.
Don’t Control The Brainstorm Group – Encourage The Group
A brainstorm session places a significant burden on the facilitator to keep the session flowing, people’s involvement up and sensitivities in check. The facilitator has to encourage everyone to participate (to their comfort level of course), without restrictions or excuses that an idea ‘can’t be done’.
As the ideas are generated a trained facilitator dismisses nothing.
A facilitator should also be free from favoritism to the outcome of your strategic plan and the audience(s) being interviewed. For this reason – it’s always a good idea to employ a facilitator from outside your company.
When The Brainstorm Sessions Are Over…
Once a brainstorm sessions is over you need a longer, more serious meeting to evaluate the ideas generated. It’s at this point that the ideas are prioritized. Some ideas might need to be set aside for future consideration. This phase is the beginning of where raw ideas will be forged into new marketing strategies, strategic plan or product development initiatives.
It’s similar to the sales funnel we’re all used to. There are lots of ideas going in and being evaluated, but you want hot ideas flowing out the bottom.
A brainstorm session is one of the all time great tools for organizations like yours to quickly energize your marketing, advertising and / or customer service areas.
In a nutshell, brainstorming will help you generate lots of new, even crazy ideas. When people see that their efforts are turning into actions they’ll be more motivated and engaged.
Where would a new innovative idea help you?
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