If your marketing team is anything like HostDime’s, we occasionally have some crazy ideas in our Marketing brainstorming sessions. But sometimes crazy things work, like explaining web hosting with a pizza. So how do you know what’s a “good crazy” idea or a “bad crazy” idea? Here’s 15 questions to ask yourself which will help you find the answer to that question.
1) What is the objective?
This is the core question you need to ask yourself at the beginning of any project. This needs to be the big picture idea such as “Get new customers for X product” or “Increase awareness among teenagers”. The rest can be hashed out if the plan fulfills the rest of the questions. In the end ask yourself, “What does success look like?”
2) How will it make money?
This can be a direct or indirect compensation. Some projects lead directly to money in the bank. Others take the circular logic of: It will increase brand awareness which will put us at top-of-mind when the consumer purchases down the line. If you’re using this circular logic, make sure the rest of your plan is solid as a rock.
3) Is it good for our reputation?
From printing brochures to sending out tweets, ask yourself: “Is this who we want to be?” And if your Marketing & Brand employees don’t think as the brand, reconsider whether or not they deserve to be the voice of your company.
4) Can it be construed as offensive?
What may be funny or just controversial enough to gain audience may backfire. Decide beforehand how willing you are to test the edges of controversy. Be aware not only of the obvious sexist, racist, and bigoted comments but also make sure you are not being elitist or condescending. Always ask yourself: “Is there a way that this could be taken wrong?”
5) Who is the intended audience?
The answer to this is never “everyone.” Even if it appeals to a mass audience, decide who you would most like to reach. The 12 month old in Kansas isn’t picking out the paper towel brand. Start general, then get specific. The end result should be something like: Customers who have had service with us 4+ years and haven’t purchased since their initial purchase.
6) What action do we want the audience to take?
Again, “spend money” isn’t the final answer. What does the purchase path look like and what is on the first square? The answer to this could be: “click the buy button, laugh, re-engage, share.”
7) What are the upfront costs?
Is there any software that will be needed to run the program? Consultancy fees? Are there advertising costs associated with your project? Make sure you understand the up-front investment to gauge what your return on investment looks like.
8) How much time (payroll) do we need to invest?
Oftentimes we forget the time investment on certain projects. Not just payroll cost, it is also taking away from other priorities in your business. It may even interfere with your life outside of work. Is it worth it?
9) Does it fit with our brand?
Does it have the look and feel of other projects that have been done? Is the color-scheme, tone of voice, and focus similar enough to other projects to breed the type of familiarity we desire in brand management?
10) Is it compelling/interesting/fun?
If it’s boring, shelf it. If it doesn’t promise satisfaction for the audience, they just won’t care. Satisfaction comes in many forms: a great coupon, a funny thing to share, the perfect gift for a brother.
11) How do we measure it?
Again, if you can’t measure it, just shelf it. You’ve already decided if you are going for likes and shares, or button clicks or website visits. If you don’t measure it there is no way to tell if it was successful.
12) Is now the best time?
Are your customers too busy holiday shopping to look at investment choices? Are you selling popsicles to Ohio in January? Timing is everything. Consider what may be going on in the buyer’s life right now. Does that potential client get their budget dollars in January? Do current events make what you’re selling seem opportunistic?
13) Is it unique?
Ever notice how every car dealership commercial sounds like every car dealership commercial? Have they found the magic marketing potion or is that industry stuck in a rut? We’re not saying anyone has to do anything off-the-wall, but wouldn’t that get your attention more than “deals, deals deals!”? If all else fails, run it past a teenager and your mom and gauge their reaction.
14) Has something similar been done before with success?
OK, so we don’t want to completely reinvent the wheel. Take a look at other promotions both within your own company and at others to see if patterns emerge for success. You know what success looks like, does this seem like a reasonable path?
15) What channels will you use to promote it?
Finally, what avenues of advertising will be best for this project. Look at the audience you’ve defined. Where are they at? What are they reading? What social media site do they visit? What do they type in at search engines? Find where your target lives, works, searches, and plays and the channels will emerge.
OK, so tell us: Your idea, is it “good crazy” or “bad crazy”?
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Vikki Fraser is the Director of Marketing for HostDime and a geyser of crazy ideas.