Content Creation

How to Take an Idea and Make it Real

Marketing runs on ideas. It’s fuel for the tank, inspiration for innovation. However, keeping the pump primed is only the first part of the process. Businesses need a simple, efficient way to take an idea and make it real.

Yet, most organizations continue to struggle with the “how” of marketing ideation, in other words, finding effective ways to implement a clear, simple, repeatable process to take an idea from a creative spark into reality. Turn-around time for taking an idea and making it real needs to be fast and on target to build and maintain customer interest and loyalty.

Here are 5 simple steps your organization can use to build a process and help organize, vet, and execute marketing ideas.

Step 1: Clarify the value of the idea and what it means to your core customer.

99% of marketers report they need a consistent pipeline of fresh ideas for content production, but only half of marketers (51%) report having enough ideas to be successful. (Source: Content Ideas, 2015)

Starting with quality ideas is the first step. It’s essential for ideas to strike a balance between meeting customer needs and business goals. If you are already investing the time and energy in brainstorming, create a healthy list that will serve your needs beyond the next project.

Here are four simple questions to help vet ideas and ensure they appeal to customer needs and desires:

  • Are you creating value?
  • Is it something customers want?
  • Is the idea clear and easy to understand and can you flesh out the details to make it concrete?
  • Is there a way to build a marketing campaign around it that will appeal to customers?

This insight will help you focus on ideas with the most long-term potential, and zero in on ideas that can be combined to create an even more powerful customer engagement tool. Remember to ask for input from sales, marketing, and customer service departments to get the full, 360-degree view of what customers really want in order to take an idea beyond the whiteboard to successful implementation.

The amount of ideas you have isn’t the problem—they just need to be high-quality and have long-term value.

Step 2: Start at the end. 

Once you’ve settled on an idea, think about how to effectively execute it by starting with the desired result and working backwards. This will change your focus to results and draw attention to specific ways to reach that outcome in a targeted way. This approach will clarify what you need to create or manage at each step, and offers clear insight on which marketing hook will attract the customer.

Step 3: Create a test run for a small, specific customer group.

No need to run out and share an idea with the world full blast. Start with a test market. See what kind of results you get with a specific set of customers, or how a targeted marketing campaign attracts new ones. The feedback received can help you tweak any details or give you clear results before a full-blown release.

Step 4: Focus on building momentum. 

Building momentum with your customers is a big part of making an idea real. Set milestones that are realistic for your target market and figure out the best ways to connect with them on social media or through email campaigns using a clear content strategy to consistently hit key talking points. The dream scenario is when clients keep the ball rolling by sharing your content for you, so make your messaging clear and easy to share.

Step 5: Craft a strategy for content curation.  

Instead of constantly reinvesting time and money in coming up with hundreds of new ideas, find effective ways to leverage the ideas that you’ve already developed. Change the format of the information, feature a key aspect, or share a customer success story to highlight the benefits of your product or service idea.

Organizations can be creative and efficient with ideation and execution when there’s a strategic process to incubate an idea from concept to implementation, especially when it’s supported by customer-focused messaging to build momentum. Just remember—ideas need to strike a healthy balance between customer and business goals.

How does your company take an idea from a concept to execution?

Katrina Pfannkuch

About Katrina Pfannkuch

Katrina Pfannkuch is a creativity consultant specializing in writing, editing, strategy & coaching. She's a bit of a data nerd & loves seeing how pieces of the informational puzzle come together to paint a creative picture. Catch Katrina & her insights on kick-starting creativity at @creativekatrina on Twitter.

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