When I was a little boy, I had what I thought was a brilliant idea about wishes. Should I ever free a genie from a lamp and be granted three wishes, my third wish would be a wish for an infinite number of wishes.
Genius right? Or naive greed, perhaps. Then I grew up to not one…but two facts of life: 1) genies do not exist and 2) if they did exist, everyone else had also thought of that brilliant idea.
Want Creativity? Limit Resources
I’m not sure where I picked this up, whether I read it somewhere, or it was mentioned in a conversation, but the comment was if we really want to
force foster creativity then we should limit resources.
It seems counterintuitive since we can make more shades of a color with three choices, than we can with two, but removing resources causes people to think differently about the same challenge.
Want to cause a traditional marketer to think differently? Take away email marketing. Or take away paid search. No reduction in “the number.”
Too risky right? Or is it? Would it lead to a breakthrough?
Want Creativity? Unlimited Resources with Limits
We will never have truly unlimited resources. But this is a mental exercise where a limitation provides focus.
What if we took that wishful thinking frame and tweaked it: the business genie arrived and would allow us to do one tactic — just one tactic — to make an impact on marketing, what would people choose?
- A gushing product review?
- An interview with the WSJ?
- A billboard in Times Square?
- A million Facebook fans?
- A product as a trending topic on Twitter?
- An email list that doubles magically in size?
- Another telesales person to make more calls?
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What if we decided to use that wish to help a customer make better decisions? The second and third order effects of such a decision? Would that customer trust us more? Would they be more inclined to make a referral?
In many ways, helping a customer make a better decision has a similar effect to an infinite number of wishes in that the lasting effect doesn’t end, when the aurora of news coverage fades or the lights of Times Square begin to shine for the next paid media customer.
If you had one marketing wish, what would you wish for?
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