Most marketers have a reputation for being creative, usually due to the marketers’ remit to develop advertising and promotions. This is a strength to use to help colleagues. If the CEO’s role is to manage the big picture and the financial director’s is to manage the numbers, then the task of creating ideas lies with the marketing director.
Creative problem solving for the business as whole is an area where the marketing director and his/her team can stand-out and make a substantial contribution. This is consistent and justifiable in context of the marketer’s main challenge – to create distinctive and appealing products and services.
So take the lead in demanding and creating genuinely new and powerful solutions to build your business. Encourage and work collaboratively with your colleagues to solve the problems that your business faces. Even if the problem lies outside of your functional area, the health of the business remains your primary responsibility.
To establish credibility as a creative problem-solver requires skill, tools, techniques and bravery. With the right skills and tools anyone can be creative. New ideas are sometimes new combinations of old ideas. The more knowledge and understanding you can call on the more creative your solution will be. With a well planned approach all problems are soluble. Workshops can be useful forums in which to solve problems – they just need careful planning and facilitation. If bravery does not come naturally remember that it is a just state of mind – so be confident and go for it!
To judge creativity give yourself a framework to work from. This can be as specific or detailed as you wish. From the criteria in your brief, for example, fit with the strategic plan or your brand to the ability to generate the desired business outcomes. A simple tip to judge creative ideas is to ask yourself if someone has thought of it before.
Finally no amount of creative problem solving will have any value unless you use it to make a decision. Bear three principles in mind.
1. The more you know the better will be your decision
(and this is where consumer or market research can be invaluable).
2. Trust your instincts.
What is wrong is probably wrong and what’s right is probably right. Those will more experience should be more able to trust their instincts to make decision. Equally those with less experience will have valid opinions too – so seek the opinions of others to test and challenge your own thinking.
3. If in doubt, sleep on it.
There must be a Darwinian explanation why decisions always come better in the morning after a good nights sleep, but they do.
Do you need help to crack a pressing marketing challenge or elevate the importance of marketing at board level? If so get in touch. The Marketing Directors’ kit-bag includes a number of powerful creative problem solving tools to crack the most difficult of marketing challenges.