Most marketers have no idea. That’s opinion.

Most marketers have no ideas. Sadly, that’s true.

(Shh. Listen in…)

Pays for marketing: ‘I read this thing by that Mychael bloke today. He reckons most marketers have no ideas.’

Marketer: ‘Mychael? Who’s he?’

Pays for marketing: ‘You know… Ran agencies. Writes about brand. And marketing. Ran Always Wear Red. Writes 50odd. Is writing a book or two.’

Marketer: ‘Nah. No idea.’

Pays for marketing: ‘Bald bloke. Looks about 60. Thinks he’s 30. Spells his name weird because he thinks he’s like Eminem or Rihanna or Bono. Swears because he thinks its cool.’

Marketer: ‘Oh him! Yes. Idiot.’

Pays for marketing: ‘Yes. Him. He reckons most marketers have no ideas.’

Marketer: ‘I have ideas.’

Pays for marketing: ‘Well; I wanted to ask you about that. Ideas. Mychael got me thinking. What ideas do you actually have?’

Marketer: ‘I have loads of ideas.’

Pays for marketing: ‘Yes, I think you’re great. But, can I ask, what ideas?’

Marketer: ‘Social media. I put things on social media. And we send a newsletter. There. There’s two.’

Pays for marketing: ‘But they’re not really ideas are they? They’re just things we do. Platforms. Channels.’

Marketer: Content then. I write content. And I use the word content so that means it’s better, err, content. You went to that event and I told them you went to that event. We won that new business and I told them we won that new business. And we employed Brian. I told them we employed bloody Brian.’

Pays for marketing: ‘Are they ideas?’


Marketer: ‘We did an advert. And some editorial.’

Pays for marketing: ‘What did the advert say? And the editorial?’

Marketer: ‘Ah! ‘Glad you asked. The advert told the reader what we do. And had a picture of what we do. And the editorial told the reader that the last client we had loved us. And that we love them. We even got a testimonial.’

Pays for marketing: ‘Can I just ask… Can we go back to the first question. Please. What ideas do you actually have? You know; unique thoughts. What do you do that our competitors don’t do? What do we say that they don’t say? How are we memorable? What do we do that is surprising? Different? Arresting? On brand, of course – so it’s not just random. What ideas do we have that are like that?’


Marketer: ‘I got our logo on a pen. And a mug.’


Marketer: ‘Oh THOSE kinds of ideas. You didn’t ask for THOSE kinds of ideas now did you?’

Pays for marketing: ‘Good ideas, you mean?’

Marketer: ‘Yeah, GOOD ideas.’

Pays for marketing: ‘Ideas that get us noticed. And make the things that really matter about our business more interesting to those we need to engage. And done and said in a way that is just not like the other options in the market. So that they just know it’s us. Ideas that reenforce our unique brand position.’


Marketer: ‘This. Pen. Is. GORGEOUS. Look at it! LOOK AT THAT LOGO!’


OK, here’s what I mean by ideas. They don’t have to be crazy. Or award winning. But they do have to be different, on brand, and strategically conceived…. for a genuine business reason. Or what’s the point?

If ideas are not for a business reason, they’re not ideas at all. It’s just lazy. Random. In fact, it’s not marketing.

Here are a few ideas I quite like.

Insight Reports. So that one of the businesses I am helping can enter the new market it’s just identified, it takes the time to develop useful, concise Insight Reports. Genuinely significant findings about the new market. Then, it offers these reports to encourage inbound enquiries from that new market, for free. Or it takes a limited number of printed Insight Reports to exhibitions. Or it uses them to drive existing inbound enquiries deeper into the sales funnel because the business I am helping appears ahead of the competition. More informed. Bothered. Interested.

Super Strong Own Brand Coffee. I help a brand that has an owned brand position that is all about the strength/toughness/robustness of its product. So, to invest in the creation of super-strong, quirkily named, own-brand quality coffee is entirely on brand and appropriate. Packaged with branded (tough!) mugs, 250g of superbly STRONG coffee grounds and a cafetière. A unique, branded conversation starter or conversation driver, driving prospects into, or further down, the funnel. A £50 promotional piece, to chase business worth between £1m and £10m.

Chickens and Eggs. I developed a two-stage direct mail piece for a print company. First, they send a beautifully created, printed chicken to prequalified prospects. Then, a day later, a beautifully created, printed matching egg is sent. Then, the telesales team call to ask (surprise, surprise) – which came first? A great, upbeat, stand-out approach. Fun!

Unloyalty Card. Peet’s Coffee in the US, stating that it’ll take ANY loyalty card from ANY coffee shop. So confident are they that their coffee is better. Genius idea.

These are ideas.

This is what you should expect from your marketer. On brand and different. Ideas that only you could do. (I’ll say that again because it is so important… ideas that only you could do).

It is important to note that these ideas only really work if they are on-brand. Great ideas underpin the unique, owned brand position of the band. So if your marketer doesn’t understand brand, properly, you’re stuck.

And have fun too! It’s only business. One life and all that. We all love to smile.

Most marketers have no idea. That’s opinion.

Most marketers have no ideas. Sadly, that’s true.

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