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Finding new ideas help refresh your marketing

So you want to grow?

Tuesday, February 2nd 2016, 10:08AM

by Russell Hutchinson

That will mean new things – unless you have been on a consistent, year-on-year 10%+ growth track for a while and you simply need to keep turning the handle you will need new ideas.

Your growth will probably come from something that you haven’t done before. The problem with that is all the defences you have created to justify how you do things right now. They had their genesis in the choice that you made all those years ago, and the most troublesome thing about them is this: you were probably right.

So changing or even extending your business into areas which you probably rejected in the past with good reason is tricky. All the information you see about a clever new product, new message, or new marketing regime you tend to see through a lens. The lens is your past judgment against that new thing. I have met with advisers that passionately believe Agreed Value is superior to Loss of Earnings, and of course, with the advisers that believe the reverse. I have met with those that think the first benefit you should sell is medical and those that believe it is the last. Possibly the most ingrained prejudice amongst some advisers is the belief that social media is a waste of time.

At one point you were right. You might still be right. But the scary part is this: what if you make no changes between now and the end of your career?

But you are reading this, and having got this far, you, like me, are interested in ways to trick yourself into a level of open-mindedness. Of course, I don’t want the credulous interest of my youth. I want the smart entrepreneur’s inquisitiveness.

Here are my tops tips for bringing new ideas into your business:

  • Work with people different to you – I am constantly grateful for the people I work with who show me cool new things that work. Find people who are happy to argue with you, forgive you, and help you learn. Working with people new to the industry is also great – because they often ask challenging questions.
  • Explore the arguments of the people you disagree with – follow them on Twitter, subscribe to their newsletters, connect on LinkedIn. We are all more alike than you think. Look for how their ideas work.
  • Always demand alternatives, even of yourself. We run checklists for most processes in our office and for the important decisions we always want two or three good alternatives.
  • Act like a scientist and seek out data. We all look for evidence of what we believe is true. This is the ‘echo chamber’ effect that leaves us wrong-footed when we suddenly discover that most people feel differently to us. Instead occasionally try to adopt the scientific method: gather data, look for independent information, and seek to disprove a hypothesis.
  • Follow other markets. We can now track product, pricing, advice, and compliance trends in several different markets easily: the US, Canada, UK, South African, and Australian markets are all worth keeping an eye on. The idea that we ‘follow’ other markets was always unpleasant, and always at least somewhat wrong, but some trends do travel around the world.

Tags: Russell Hutchinson

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