How To Brainstorm: Marketing Strategy

Generate Ideas

Generate Ideas

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.

Conclusion

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?

Happy Career Training.

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About Bruce Mayhew
Bruce Mayhew is a Leadership Coach, Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer who builds strong client and co-worker relationships that give clients a competitive advantage. Our training and development programs include: ■Generational Differences ■Effective Business Email Writing ■Email Etiquette ■Phone Etiquette ■Behaviour Event Interviewing (BEI) ■Mindfulness ■Using Linkedin to Build Client Relationships ■Objective Setting Made Easy

6 Responses to How To Brainstorm: Marketing Strategy

  1. Great article Bruce.

    To add to your above thoughts, I would also recommend that using tools such as Mind Mapping TM are also also great ways to encourage creativity, people to build off each others ideas and allow thinking to go as broadly as possible. Not too mention a great way to get people to remember and retain ideas.

    • Bruce Mayhew says:

      Thanks Tania,
      I love Mind Mapping… I’ve used it for years – first by myself in writing stories and then solo and in groups when planning all sorts of business strategies, business plans, strategic reviews…. etc…
      Hope we run into each other soon.
      Bruce

  2. Steve Chorny says:

    Hi Bruce:
    Only thing I don’t agree with is the one objective. One of the amazing things I have discovered about Brainstorming ( and similar ) tools is the ability to head off into a direction that was not planned. For me (and my clients) this has resulted in some interesting discoveries. I will agree though, that the original issue, may not have been solved as a result of heading off in another direction, but that can also be a good thing.

    To me, Brainstorming, along with many other tools and techniques, are tools to be used for creativity. And while I too, might state what the one objective is, the facilitator must be able to recognize the opportunity of a possible solution for another problem/issue arising as a result of the discussion. My best ideas strike, when I am totally concentrating on something else.

    ps: I am a big fan of the tools and techniques suggested by Edward de Bono.

    • Bruce Mayhew says:

      Steve, thank you for responding. I do appreciate it.

      I don’t think we need to disagree… at least 100%. You are correct – a brainstorm session is a wonderful tool to discover. I have used it with much success for clients.
      My point about one objective is to not start with three of four objectives. For example:
      – Redefine our strategic plan
      – Identify a new target audience
      – Develop a new tag line
      It’s a fine balancing act to know when to keep exploring a new idea – or to ‘park’ it for another session. One never wants to lose great momentum and energy. At the same time you do want to stay on course (of the main objective), and not follow random unproductive ideas.
      My best ideas strike when I’m driving long distances…
      I’m sure we have many motivations in common. Have a terrific day – and again… Thanks for the comment.

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