At Ecard Shack we are constantly trying to develop new creative ideas for our Christmas ecards business be it for our customer’s on-line user experience, social media content, customer and prospect marketing programmes or ideas to evolve our electronic holiday cards for business. We have loads of ideas, not all of them hit the bulls eye but we have great fun selecting, improving and then implementing.
With the need to be as effective as possible in developing on-line communications, good marketers use both creativity and analytics to hone successful ideas. There’s even a new name for it. Christine Perkett calls it ‘Creatalitics’ and offers a useful definition:
“[Creatalitic thinkers] combine really creative and innovative ideas–those ‘dreams and visions’ with data and analysis–the ‘blazes of insight’ that tell them if their creations go beyond initial appeal and into the world of actionable value to the company’s bottom line.”
Whilst the right side of our brain is the source of our creative thinking, we should not ignore the analytical left side which can filter out ideas that appear to be good but would fail to create business value. Here are some practical ways to put your ideas to the test to see if they are worth the investment:
1. Google it.
Simply searching for the same or similar idea on the web will tell you a lot. Has it been done before and if so can it be improved upon or made unique to your brand? Was it successful and what value did it have? Can this be replicated for your business?
2. Polish the rocks
Talking your idea out with peers definitely helps both validate what’s good, identify what needs improvement and rings the alarm bell if there are serious flaws. Like polishing rough rocks, rub together and create a little friction and hopefully they will come out smooth and polished.
3. Like – improve analysis
The like-improve analysis is a great way to assess, hone and improve your initial creative ideas before they are developed and implemented. If you are on your own, divide a piece of paper down the middle. Preferably you are working as a group and use a flip chart. On the left side, under ‘like’, list all the things you like about the idea. On the right side, under ‘improve’, reference everything that doesn’t work so well and needs improvement.
Figure out if and how you can address the issues raised on the right side. If you find the answers, either remove the item or add it to the left side if it is now a ‘like’. Continue until you decide if the idea is worth development. If yes, then organise the further work required into an action plan.
4. Answer the hard questions
You’re going to have to justify your idea to the business so work out answers to the tough questions like; how it fits with the overall business or brand strategy, how will success be measured and tracked, what’s the ROI and how much could it generate for the bottom line?
Any idea you decide to develop can continue to be improved by testing. So, whether you have the budget and expertise for it or not, find a way to get it in front of your target audience and impartially judge their response.
6. Learn from your results
Experience is hugely valuable when you learn from years of mistakes and successes. After you run a campaign, take time to analyse it to see what actually worked so you can apply this knowledge to your next creative idea.