Creativity is divided into two parts. The first CREATe is to come up with new and innovative ways to do something.
The second and most difficult part of the word is IVITY. Its taking action on what youve created. Nobody cares about a great idea unless you do something about it.
I liken it to when I visit the small town in which I grew up in Canada. I get into the car with my dad, and, inevitably, we stop at the same corner in town. There, he proudly points out two large buildings and proclaims, I could have bought those properties in 1947 for $1,500.00.
Not to be rude, dad, but who cares?
Its the same when you see a product on the market and slap your forehead in admonishment saying to yourself, I thought of that years ago. I cant believe somebody is making money from that!
Again, who cares?
I recently had one of those I thought of that experiences. I have a literary agent who has been on me for two years to write a marketing book for small businesses. I have had every excuse in the world not to do it, and this week, my procrastination came back to haunt me. I purchased a marketing book, and there, in the first 50 pages, were the exact thoughts I have had seemingly forever on marketing.
Dont get me wrong. The author didnt plagiarize my words or my concepts; they are his own, and he has far more credibility than I. It was just one of those eye-opening experiences that sends a wake-up call to all of us at some time in our careers. I know what youre thinking: Who cares?
The book? The End of Marketing As We Know It, by Sergio Zyman, former chief marketing officer, The Coca-Cola Co. Its rare that I promote a book in my column, but I cant give this one any higher accolades.
In the book, Zyman claims that the job of marketing is to sell lots of stuff and to make lots of money. It is to get more people to buy more of your products, more often, at higher prices ... Thats what its about, what it has always been about, and what it will always be about.
In fact, although some marketers will tell you its impossible, the real job of a marketer is to sell everything that a company can profitably make, to be the ultimate stewards of return on investment and assets employed.
Thats exactly what I would have said ... but who cares?
Zyman continues, One of the biggest reasons that [businesses] often lack the discipline that they need to achieve their desired results is that they do not do a good job of defining what those results should be ... Marketers focus too much on tasks and not enough on results ... a clear and objective result for the effort and money that gets allocated to marketing.
This is why I always say a small business needs a good marketing plan. WHO CARES what I say?
Zyman discusses doing research to support your marketing efforts, focusing on results rather than on your market, and he stresses that we sometimes need to suck it up and admit, It aint working and change our strategy mid-stream.
Even more potent is his concept that you can expand your market by redefining it. He claims that ... any time someone starts understanding your product or service, its time to reinvent it!
Does this sound familiar? I have been saying this for years. But I know, I know. Who cares?
Finally, The End of Marketing As We Know It scolds readers who think advertising and marketing are completely separate strategies. Zyman claims that advertising used to be one part of the marketing plan, but in todays business dynamic, a savvy organization recognizes that it is so intertwined that it no longer has separate advertising and marketing departments or responsibilities.
This is exactly what I tell our clients. OK! OK! Say it with me. Who cares?
Things would be different, however, if I had followed through with my idea when I first had it. Indeed, I would have, could have, should have. But Zyman did.
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Jeff Tobe, CSP, is the Primary Colorer at Monroeville-based, Coloring Outside the Lines, which works with businesses on how to be more creative in their sales and marketing strategies. Reach his Web site at www.jefftobe.com or at (412) 373-6592.