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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Big Idea :: What's the Big Idea?

When I was attending the Temerlin Advertising Institute at Southern Methodist University, I had a professor named Bill Ford who was always asking, "What's the Big Idea here?" What he was really asking was, "What's the overall idea here that will make this work?"

All too often marketers get all caught up with what's fashionable, or what's worked recently. They miss a critical step: The Big Idea.

What is a Big Idea? It's the intellectual spark of inspiration that can ignite an inferno. It's that one piece of insight that enables the message to get across and to stick. Think of any great marketing scheme and you'll find the Big Idea that seeded it.

Progressive Auto Insurance's comparison website where "Sometimes they're the lowest rate, sometimes they're not." The Big Idea is to allow that you might not be the lowest because you want to be a resource not just another auto insurance website.

Six Flags had a tough time selling season tickets until they had the Big Idea of selling season tickets in your local grocery store. Now they own parks all over the country and the vast majority of their ticket sales come from the grocery store service counter.

Online search engines were becoming homogeneous until a little start up engine had the Big Idea of favoring relevancy over advertising and they became Google which is, well Google.

The Big Idea is what makes good ideas great, small companies great companies, and marketers rich. It's what every marketer should always be searching for and trust me, when it hits you, you'll know it.

Big Idea :: Thought-leadership

Thought-leadership can be a powerful marketing strategy for B2B companies.

The reason this has been proven by practices as a viable strategy is that for most B2B companies selling their product or service to a knowledgeable prospect base dramatically shortens the sales process. The trick is to provide your prospect (and let's not forget current customer) base with the very latest in industry trends, research, and best practices.

To make these resources valuable to your prospect base consider the following:

  • Generate a number of different resources on varied topics like Industry Trends reports, Best Practices White Papers, and Tips Articles
  • Update your content often. Monthly updates are ideal
  • Resource/download section on your website
  • Make downloaders fill out a form (but only once)
  • Tie the end of each report or article to a pain that your product or service alleviates, but be sure it doesn't come across as to 'salesy'

Here are some examples of really good Resource Download pages:

Remember, providing these kinds of resources is expensive and time-consuming, but if it's done right, Thought-leadership can be a powerful way to position your brand, differentiate yourself from your competition, and hopefully sell your product.

 
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