There's a reason why we like to read content that is organized in a neat list - it makes it easier on us to track things this way. Lists are not prescriptive, nor they are the universe of what you could do, they are just a starting point.
Lists help us catalyze our thought and process the information. Plus, it's no mystery that our brain likes to process things in batches. Lists are great for helping us think about issues in progression and, when needed, they help us memorize things.
You don't have to believe me, NPR has a great list post about 10 reasons why we love making lists. I offer you my list of 5 marketing ideas you can use today:
(1) Create a robust content road map - start capturing information about all you know in your field, or business, or niche. File it from basic to advanced. Then utilize a robust buying cycle guide for your customers to decide what you present, when.
The guiding principle here should be progression from building awareness, to helping them discover you, to validating their choice. For example, for awareness and discovery use some form of micro blogging, and heavy employ of public relations activities. Brochures and collateral for validation, as long as you make them about your customer.
(2) Reinvent the way you propose yourself - what is done, is done. What if you could start over today? How would you present yourself to the business community? You can still do that even with some history in the market. Then utilize an integrated approach to present your new persona.
The idea here is that you have probably learned about what works and what doesn't for you from being exposed to interactions. Start managing yourself to what you wish to convey moving forward. For example, do you want to become the authority for all things "x"? That's where you will put your attention and time.
(3) Go direct - interact directly with your customers and prospects. That should be the very last thing you'd want to delegate to someone else. Use technology and automation to help you stay organized, but use the human touch to develop and nurture those relationships.
Are you convinced yet that more and more of the businesses that are winning do not have an intermediary between themselves and their customers? You should be. The trend is moving to self-service - both in seeking information and in acquiring goods - the money is in figuring out what your customers and prospects want to experience.
(4) Surprise, educate, or entertain - each one of these can lead you to engagement and interest - either direct, or indirect. Which one is better, you trying to push your message out or your customers sharing fun and creative ideas from you with their friends?
If you're not already doing that, package your good content in ways that are easy and irresistible for your customers to send to their friends. Watch out that you don't do unusual for its own sake. Truly spend the time coming up with simple and compelling ways to propose content. Forget benchmarks, become the go to company for amazing experiences.
(5) Take care of the little things - details matter a great deal. Design the experience right into the product or the way it's delivered. By doing that, you can architect conversations right from the start. People notice everything, especially those things you have not gone out of your way to shout at them.
Have you ever read the packaging from an Apple product? The case for my iPod reads "Like a fine pair of jeans, iPod nano colors may vary and change over time." That of the shuffle said something to the effect of do not ingest, or something like that. This is built in marketing.
What else could we include here? What marketing ideas have you used successfully? Do you have special resources to help you come up with new ideas?
[image by woodleywonderworks]