THE TRAP OF THE “HALF-SOLVED PROBLEM.”
We hear it all the time from clients: We need a brochure. We need a TV campaign. We need a killer tag line. Or web site. Or direct mail campaign.
Sometimes it’s precisely what they need. Other times, not so much.
What these requests are, are really “half-solved” problems. The client has a true “need,” and all of his/her experience tells them the solution is (pick one) a brochure, TV campaign, tagline, etc.
It is part of human nature. Our instinct is to solve problems as they arise, using the knowledge and resources we have at hand to do it.
The thing is, today our creative toolbox has way more tools in it than it ever had. Many, of which, marketers have had only limited exposure to or don’t fully understand. And a lot of the “tools” they are used to using don’t work as effectively in our information-overloaded culture as they used to.
When a marketer finds him/herself saying “We need a (fill in choice of execution here),” he/she needs to pause for a moment and ask, “What makes me think I need that? What’s the real need we have here?” Are you looking for a way to build traffic? Or to stand out from your competitors? Or to get the customers you now have to purchase your product more often?
By clarifying the real “need” and separating it from the “half solution,” you’ve given yourself a wider band of possibilities and creative avenues through which to attack your problem, and improved your chances of developing a more elegant and effective solution.
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