In all aspects of life, innovation tends to come from individuals who emerge as leaders in their respective fields. While there are a variety of characteristics that make these people unique, it is usually their passion for excellence that drives them to embrace a mindset where they think outside of the box. In essence, it is these types of folks who learn to value repetition (failure or not) because they understand that experience itself is a unique skill set. As a result, they have a mindset where they are willing to take (calculated) risks because they know that they will bring them closer to an innovative idea regardless of the outcome. This concept is best illustrated by a brilliant entrepreneur and marketer who turned Apple into the #1 organization in the world with a brand valued at $70 billion.
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things” (Steve Jobs).
This makes sense, right? First, let me say that there is no question that some individuals seem to be more wired in a creative manner – and others are raised in a manner where this seems to be cultivated more efficiently. However, with most people, you can develop a skill set that allows you to be more creative in marketing. Touching back on the quote by Steve Jobs, there are parts of innovation in marketing that don’t necessarily have to do with your natural abilities. Rather, building on the concept of “thin splicing,” your mind tends to intuitively understand marketing in a far more efficient manner when you invest in regular repetition, education, and reflection. Here are some basic tips that you should consider when attempting to develop your creativity-based skill sets.
Tips to Maximize Ability to Innovate in Marketing
1. Study creative concepts in your field with fanaticism: This is certainly not an earth shattering insight. However, if you want to innovate, you almost always need a base of knowledge in the field that you are operating within. In addition to providing you with this necessary foundation, you will also develop an ability to recognize the basic strategies that make top organization’s unique.
2. Take intentional approach to learn from the best: If you want to be a trendsetter in any area, it is always best to learn as much as you possibly can from individuals who have achieved great things ahead of you. In marketing, this means reading about individuals such as Bill Veeck and Steve Jobs – and books from individuals like Seth Godin. Learning from the best can help you understand what it will take to truly make a unique difference in your field.
3. Put yourself in a position to gain experience: While the previous two steps are critical, you cannot truly develop an ability to innovate in marketing unless you are in a position to gain practical experience. Once you are in this position, you can start to cultivate your ability to make efficient decisions in marketing through repetition.
4. Embrace the opportunity to fail: If you are going to set trends in marketing, you will have to go through the process of failing from time to time. In fact, if you have high standards and are stretching yourself on a daily basis, you will probably fail far more often than others. While you should never plan on failing, it is important to understand that failing often offers a unique opportunity to learn from your mistakes. In the field of marketing, this includes a situation like launching a promotional piece that does not catch on like you would like it to or it simply falls flat. In either case, you still have the opportunity to learn from this “repetition” in the process. This alone will differentiate you from others.
Developing an Ability to Synthesize Steve Jobs’ Style
The good news is that one of the most brilliant minds in our time says that creativity comes from putting yourself in a position where you learn from repetition. By investing heavily in a certain area, you have the opportunity to become an expert that sets trends because you have a natural feel for what is creative. The challenge now becomes will you put in the time to know what innovation looks like. It is one thing to know it when you see it. It is quite another to be the one who comes up with it.