Tara Burns

Generate original ideas that sell

Posted on 1st December 2015 by Tara Burns

"Good ideas will get you noticed. An original idea will make your audience think, feel and ultimately buy from you. "

“All good ideas are dangerous”, Oscar Wilde once said. Indeed shooting down ideas in B2B can be a popular sport. Combine that with a constant feeling of bashing your head against a brick wall, while waiting for the perfect ‘big idea’ to arrive from the land of ‘blue sky thinking’, and Wilde’s sentiment starts to ring true.

A good idea can indeed be dangerous – for competitors – and when it is original, has commercial purpose and solves the problems of the person behind the job title, it will stop people in their tracks.

Good ideas will get you noticed. An original idea will make your audience think, feel and ultimately buy from you. The tricky part is in striking the right balance between being ideas-led and clearly aligned to what you do, and not thinly disguised sales messaging.

In complex world of B2B, packaging the collective thinking of the business – a combination of expertise, knowledge and IP – into ideas that sell, has become the ultimate marketing quest. All too often, companies will have the same services, the same products and similar personnel. So how can brands differentiate? Is it possible to find that elusive white space to own?

At Man Bites Dog the answer is “yes”. We are masters at unlocking the knowledge that exists within businesses and turning complex expertise, products and services into compelling stories. We do this with original ideas.

It’s not always that easy though. We know that three quarters of B2B marketers struggle to generate commercially effective ideas, yet without them, they risk losing a connection with customers. An idea or concept must capture the attention of your audience, otherwise it is just adding to the plethora of ‘same old’ bought-in thinking as the firm next door.

So how do you generate an idea that will sell?

Original ideas

The next time you’re in a brainstorm or bashing around ‘big ideas’ for your campaign, check how it scores on the Man Bites Dog originality scale:

Level 1: At a basic level, does it articulate a non-original thought really well? Will it make your audience sit up and take note?

Level 2: At a higher level, does it look at an issue that is well worn from a new dimension? Are you contributing to, or furthering, a debate? Can you change behaviour by framing it as a positive opportunity, future threat or ticking time bomb in the here and now?

Level 3: At the top level, is it a really interesting, original idea? Is it an idea that you’ve found in another industry, discipline, or area of your life that you can apply in a different way, in a different context?

It’s all too easy to think that once you have the idea, the job is done – but it is just the beginning. Content is there to help you to package and deliver your big ideas. It is crucial to think integration and activation at the start of the process. Put this effort in at every stage of the journey and you will reap the commercial rewards.

For practical advice and a framework to stress-test your ideas, download our handy eBook, or get in touch to talk to us about ideas-led sales and marketing workshops for your team.

This post is part of Man Bites Dog’s ‘No Idea?’ blog series on creating marketing campaign ideas that sell.

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