Great article by Shane Snow which can easily apply to marketing problems:
- List the assumptions you're making when approaching a marketing campaign, both about what your target audience is after, and how you think a marketing campaign should work.
- Ask yourself how you'd normally target a particular audience. Then ask yourself what you would do if you couldn't use that method. How else could you get their attention?
- Question the question to create a new scenario.
- Start backwards, with the end situation, to prevent over-thinking an unhelpful aspect of the problem.
- Change perspective: it might be helpful to pretend you are someone very different.
As Snow points out, 'one of the reasons innovation often happens when outsiders enter a new industry, or when disparate groups bump into one another, is because fresh perspective are convention-ignorant.'
If your business is one where fresh perspectives are all too rare, then it might be worth artificially creating friction by inviting outsiders to brainstorm with you, or bringing together members of your company not normally involved in marketing.
Breakthroughs, by very definition, only occur when assumptions are broken. In creative fields, this often happens when people break rules that aren’t actually rules at all, but rather simply conventions. Pablo Picasso changed art forever by smashing the “rules” of perspective, color, proportion. His Cubism took hold in Paris faster than Van Gogh’s impressionism—and any other new form, for that matter. Apple turned the tech world on its head by radically simplifying music and mice when everyone else equated more buttons and more megabytes and more jargon with better. When we look at great inventions and solutions to problems throughout history—the kinds that make what came before instantly obsolete—we see this pattern again and again.