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IDEAS BLOG

Looking for Innovation: Expand the Context

I was talking to an executive recruiter recently, who was describing the process of hiring people for middle management and executive level roles.

I learned that the hiring company’s on-boarding process – how good it is – makes a big impact on the likelihood that the newly hired executive will be a success. “Great opportunity to expand your services,” I suggested.”Help your clients manage the on-boarding to ensure it is successful.”

Many product and service categories present this opportunity, and you should always look for these methods or approaches.

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Everyone Thinks They are Don Draper Now: The Wizard’s Curtain is Open and Nobody Minds

Recently in a focus group, a consumer respondent said something like this to me: “Your client needs to fire their current agency and hire some young marketers with fresh ideas that will re-energize their brand for launch in a new market. The stuff you are showing us is dated and will never give them the lift they need.”

This is certainly not the first time I have heard such sentiments expressed by people who are considered to be average consumers in some sense . (We try not to invite marketing professionals, advertising people, competitors, journalists, and actors as a matter of routine).

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Guerrilla Marketing Research: How to Find Information on a Budget

My regular workout buddy is an outsourced marketing consultant. As we sweat it out in the cardio area we yak it up about many things. A frequent topic is the desire of her small business and start-up clients to get some kind of marketing research insights on essentially no budget.

Recently, she was telling me about a start-up who wants to get 30 interviews done across North America with various types of business owners – and has a budget of $5,000 for the whole thing. As you can imagine, a range of expressions crossed my face when asked for advice on how to do this.

But it’s a common problem and I’m not unsympathetic.

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Magic, Sausage-Making and the Baking of Insight Cakes: Or Why I Hate Providing Draft Reports

Like magic and sausage-making, the process of arriving at insights is not necessarily something people should see up close, no matter how tasty and delightful the final result may be.

There are two points in this work where clients and research agencies are in very good alignment. The first is at the end of the fieldwork, where I suspect we are all equally overwhelmed.

Naturally, I make reassuring noises, but the truth is, even if I have a pretty good sense of the landscape, the sheer quantity of data is often overwhelming on my side, too.

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The Innovative Workout

In our culture today, we tend to leap from problem to solution. We have been rewarded with this approach most of our lives.

But when you are looking for fresh ideas, you will get farther if you change the solution into a lot of questions. For instance ….

I wanted to go to the gym more often. This is a problem many of us have. I had memberships I didn’t use. I found it painfully boring. Net result: not working out enough. Common solutions: be more disciplined, book time in my calendar, yada, yada, yada.

What worked?

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