A derivative marketing strategy that carries the illusion of innovation
Just do a flash mob
Humans are biologically and psychologically primed to engage with novelty. It is a natural habit of the mind to explore things that are different and unexpected. Humans want to move closer to the ideas that are unusual enough to encourage exploration.
Except, of course, when those humans are trying not to get fired. That changes everything.
I have a friend who runs a event production company. Every day, she gets emails and phone calls from organizations who want to hire her to make their next corporate meeting a big hit. But from what she tells me, the initial conversation always goes the same way.
The marketing director wants to do something interesting and memorable and meaningful to build buzz about the company’s latest product. The budget is x, the date is y, the customer is z, so what can you do for us, she asks.
Instantly, my friend’s brain snaps into brainstorm mode as she brilliantly populates a list of innovative concepts to help the client achieve their objective. It’s marketing gold. To the point where my friend get just as excited as the person who called.
But eighty percent of the time, the prospect ultimately says, look, those all sound like great ideas, but the board will never go for them. Can we just do a flash mob?
Woops. So much for engaging with novelty.
Turns out, people do want innovative ideas, but only within a rigidly accepted orthodoxy. People do want to try new and fresh and creative approaches to business, but only if those ideas are risk free and guarantee corporate buy in and don’t require making major changes in their general way of doing business and won’t get anyone fired.
The reality is, most companies really just want another derivative strategy that carries the illusion of being innovative, but never actually breaks new ground. Because that’s what keeps them safe. It’s profoundly frustrating for the hyper creative entrepreneur. You feel like your talents are being wasted. Like your finest creative impulses are being smothered.
And the sad part is, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it. Unless you keep a running list of all the innovative ideas your scaredy cat prospects are afraid of, and then sell that list to clients who actually have courage.
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What keeps your clients from implementing your strategies?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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