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6 min read

I’m only human: how to create new ideas when you’re dry

Dark times are inevitable — both in a person’s life and in marketing. Sometimes you feel like your creativity has been drained by the everlasting stream of routine tasks, and all good ideas are already implemented. The new ideas either don’t come at all or come and they’re so pathetic that it’d be better if they didn’t come in the first place.
But your life and career still go on — and you need new breakthrough ideas to keep your marketing primed and the management happy. While it’s hard to find inspiration and generate new award-winners, we’re here to back you up. In this article, we’ll disclose a few methods to stimulate your creativity and figure out new ideas. Let’s dive in with the first one!

Learn from the industry

There’s no better way to improve passively over time than staying in touch with your industry. Read news and opinion articles in the industry media, subscribe to the creme de la creme of marketing and keep an eye out for new trends. You can learn a lot by just following the right people and brands on social media and checking out their latest posts from time to time.
To find your sources of inspiration, you can take a few routes:
1
You know the names of the best marketers as well as the strongest brands. Follow them — and build your list from there. There are a lot of recommendations involved in this business, so if the top dogs recommend you check out someone else or just stay in touch with them, it’s likely worth it. Who do Amra and Elma from (you guessed it) Amra&Elma follow on social media? What media does Alex Mendoza from Stylophane read? Are there any interesting discussions between the directors of BluCactus and their peers online?
2
See what and who your colleagues are subscribed to. Is there any community they are a part of? What media do they read? Who do they follow? By tracking the same sources, it’s easier to stay on the same page with colleagues and discuss ideas.
3
Go for the media. Big professional media incorporate everything: they have columns from industry leaders, discuss the hottest trends and cover most of the market. Reading marketing and fashion media is an easy way to always know what’s going on. Many professionals started by simply reading DMN, HubSpot, or Marketing Sherpa a few years ago. It definitely won’t hurt you to try and follow their steps.

Hubspot.com has an abundance of articles and guides —

from general advice to exact methods and templates.

It’s always helpful — crucial, even — to follow your industry’s best practices and hear from its leaders. Not only will you grab some of their ideas and build upon them, but you’ll also learn some tricks along the way. Trends, opinions, guidelines, and case studies — all of this combined is bound to give you some fresh hints.

In John Doherty’s blog, you can find many useful pieces whether you are

a hired or freelance marketer or even have your own business.

Resort to data and analytics

Socrates once said, “When in doubt — check the data”.
Well, he didn’t, of course. But if he did — he would’ve been right.
Data is great for understanding how your campaign went or which of the options you were testing was more efficient. However, it can also be a source of inspiration for planning future activities. By checking the data you already have, you can notice some patterns that are worth building upon — or dropdowns that you could eliminate… which initiates creativity.
Data can help you be more creative by providing insights that inspire new campaigns and opportunities. It can give you a better understanding of your customer's needs and wants, which in turn can give direction to fresh creative ideas. 87% of marketers see data as their most underutilized asset, it’s about time to change that.
Data provides you with invaluable insights into your customers’ minds: if you want to understand what they need and want, take a look at their responses to your actions. Data can lead your creativity in the right direction — or even sparkle it.
Is there a curious correlation between your open rate and the way you phrase preheaders? Do your customers tend to click the CTA more if you use certain color combinations? How can you use the most searched words on your website to upsell more items? What other patterns and statistics could prove helpful in developing your next campaign or move?
There’s even a name for this phenomenon: datativity. Try it and see if it works for you, too!

Switch up your work methods

There might be an entirely different reason for you to come to this article, though. We both know you’re here because you don’t exactly know what to do next, and the previous points are all about getting inspiration and insights. But what about the methods themselves? The answer may be hiding there, too.
The best way to go about it is by decomposing your work routine, identifying its flaws, and working out better alternatives. However, you may not have time for this, so we are going to suggest a couple of techniques instead. Implementing them will never do you any harm, but it can also help out tremendously by increasing your efficiency and freeing your time.
Cycles
Oh well. Don’t run away just now, please. We know that cycles are mostly developers’ methods, but you can still make use of them, we promise.
The cycle system divides your work process into week-long intervals. At the beginning of each cycle, you fill in all the tasks you need to complete by the end of it. This allows for easier tracking of your activities, and, consequently, frees your time for generating new ideas. You can even plan brainstorms into cycles (and get rid of something less useful in the process).
Hypothesis testing
Do you seriously think I’m not doing that here?! — we hear you yell in your righteous fury. No, we don’t. But we’re suggesting something a bit different.
Since you may now have that little bit of extra time thanks to the cycle system, try the hypothesis method. Most of the time you’re searching for the best, most optimal ideas. Now try coming up with multiple whatever-level ideas, compiling the better ones into hypotheses, and testing them. To help you rate the quality and priority of your hypotheses, use another tool…
Scoring models
Use scoring models to assign numerical values — from one to ten — to your ideas and projects. It’s a quick and efficient way to figure out the priority based on the relative value. These models determine the value based on multiple parameters. After adopting one or a few of them, you’ll be able to prioritize the right tasks and make plans accordingly — and test all your ideas!

One last thing

You’re a marketer, not a robot or an AI. While all of the methods above are great ways to bump your creativity and generate new ideas, sometimes you just need rest. Make sure you’re feeling good yourself, and only then start applying various techniques to your work. No scoring system will be as effective when you’re exhausted and indifferent to what you’re doing.
Take care — and best of luck with idea generation! We’re glad to have been helpful to you.

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