“When you really understand what your customers want, then it is so easy to show them that your product or service is just what they need to get it. Your job is to be the buyer’s assistant.”
~ Bruce Barton
At the heart of every effective marketing campaign is a Big Idea that resonates with your customers and gives them an insatiable desire for your product or service. Different segments of your target market may respond to different Big Ideas and a single product or service with declining sales may be given a new lease of life when offered on the basis of a fresh ‘Big Idea’. Your ‘Big Idea’ also solves the problem of competition and creates price elasticity.
If this is true, then finding ‘Big Ideas’ that will make your marketing sound out is your primary responsibility. So, how and where can you find these ideas?
Research is the Key to Your Big Marketing Idea
Behind-the-scenes research to uncover the big idea is rather like searching for gold or diamonds. Sometimes, you stumble on a valuable nugget immediately, at other times you need to dig for the vein which can take enormous effort as well as a great deal of time and imagination.
One of the benefits of hiring an outsider to help you discover your Big Idea (or set of Big Ideas) is that they put aside some of the unquestioned assumptions and pre-suppositions that internal staff have. Many businesses run with the first idea they have, copy their competitors’ marketing messages, or fall back on familiar strategies instead of hunting for the keys that unlock their prospects hearts, minds, and wallets.
Where Should I Look for My Big Marketing Idea?
The chances are that your Big Marketing Idea is hidden in your philosophy of business or in your process, but you can often discover it most easily when you look at reviews and forums about your topic or industry.
Some of the information you need is already in your database if you have an established business. This includes:
- Client avatar – based on your real, ideal clients;
- Sales figures and projections;
- Lifetime customer value;
- Customer concerns – based on actual feedback (positive and negative);
- ROI from existing marketing campaigns;
However, this is just the tip of iceberg. Here are some questions you should always ask (and your answers should be based on research and should come from outside your head, not on assumptions and guesses:
- Is my current ideal client also my future ideal client? – you may need to consider a change of target based on age, income, or anticipated change of direction and this will impact your Big Idea.
- What does my target market want that they are not currently getting? – there are always some gaps between what a target market wants and the options available. You may even be filling the hole, but not yet talking about it.
- What is the real reason they buy this product or service… not the reason that they tell others (or you)? – there is always a hidden emotional motivation that goes deeper than logic and if you can trigger this then price and convenience cease to be the key factors in their buying decision.
- What do customers complain most about when it comes to your product, service or industry? Is there a way to overcome this complaint? – this usually presents a tremendous opportunity to gain market share.
- What is changing in the marketplace or industry that I can take advantage of? – looking ahead and taking an aerial view of the landscape gives you a whole new perspective as well as the ability to leap frog your competitors by seeing what they haven’t yet seen. When you are out in front, your authority is unquestioned and you become the go-to provider.
- Have I looked outside my head and my immediate surroundings for a Big Idea, or am I just trying to create one from what I already know?
What Happens When Your Marketing Focuses on a Big Idea?
Finding the Big Idea can transform almost any campaign from decent (three to ten times ROI) to stellar (twenty times ROI or better).
That’s why the time and energy you invest in researching until you uncover the perfect hook that will engage your target audience is worth every second. It’s also why you need to approach the problem with an open mind.
I was working with a client in the manufacturing industry who provided a unique, but expensive solution for semi-trailer loads. We started out by examining the materials they were already using and his frustrations with their effectiveness. Actually, if you looked at his brochures, videos, etc. they were decent, so the question we asked was: “Why aren’t they converting?” Neither of us wanted to waste his time and money making cosmetic tweaks so I went to talk to his best prospects (both buyers and non-buyers).
It was an illuminating experience!
The issue wasn’t price or quality. At the heart of their resistance was a single question that wasn’t addressed because it was so obvious… and when we made that one question the Big Idea behind the campaign, suddenly resistance dissolved and orders flowed in and increased exponentially.
My question to you: Are you overlooking a big idea that could transform your sales? If so, how are you going to discover it?