5 Ways to View Your Industry as an Inspiration Machine

4/15/2013

5 Ways to View your Industry as an Inspiration Machine

It can be tough to drum up some genuine marketing inspiration. I can’t even tell you how many episodes of Mad Men have shown the iconic ad man Don Draper holed up in a smoke-filled movie theater, waiting for his next big zinger to come along. You’ll find him there quite often. Because good ideas aren’t easy to come by—especially when you’re selling suitcases. Or cereal. Or cigarettes.

But here’s some good news for the B2B marketer: Unlike Don Draper, you’re selling products and services that run deep. You’re selling components and materials and expertise that actually make things work better. The very business you serve is an endless source of real inspiration. If you know how to find it.

Here’s how you can start looking:

1. Take a step back

Most B2B companies contribute to quality of life in too many ways to count. It’s really quite remarkable. B2B companies create products and technologies that enable everything from cloud computing to pain relievers. Try writing down all of the daily necessities and modern amenities that your company helps provide. (You might need to clear your schedule first.)

2. Take a close look

What exactly does your company or product help customers do? Maybe you’re helping them safely build more facilities, or make their existing facilities safer or build the most efficient commercial HVAC system on the market. Get as direct and specific as possible. Once you’ve zeroed in on your answer, it will be easier to identify styles, mediums or tactics that complement your unique value proposition.

3. See how it’s made

You’ve probably toured your own manufacturing facilities before. That’s okay. Tour them again. But this time, do it like a real tourist. Bring your camera and take photos of everything that catches your attention. Ask every question that comes to mind. This kind of fascination makes great fuel for the creative process while keeping your mind immersed in your industry context.

4. Decorate with your industry

Fill your workspace with colorful reminders of what your company actually makes. Frame some cool photos from your factory tour. Set up your very own product display. Make that desk look like your industry’s official fan club headquarters.

5. Remember your own vital role

You are a very unique kind of specialist. Every day, B2B marketing professionals like you are required to face highly complex products and incredibly high-stakes buying cycles and turn out clear, simple marketing ideas that really work. It’s not easy. But you’ve done it before, and you’ll do it again.

So you can save yourself the $15.00 movie ticket. Your B2B company is a true inspiration machine. And you’re the perfect person to switch it on.

About the Author

Cliff Lewis
Executive Creative Director
Godfrey

I tell campfire stories to engineers and purchasing managers.

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