There have been many occasions throughout history when a quick spark of creativity is ignited through tinkering, random thoughts, or even by accident. For example, microwaves were created in the 1940s, when an engineer working on radar systems noticed that the magnetron he was testing started to melt a candy bar in his pocket. Thus, the convenient food cooking mechanism was created. Even the tasty chocolate chip cookies were created by accident. Eighty years ago, the owner of an inn was attempting to create a new chocolate dessert, which failed to meet her expectations. The chips that were intended to melt, did not. If it weren’t for that mistake, we may have never experienced the amazing taste of chocolate chip cookies.
A book called Underwater Dogs was recently released by Seth Casteel, who’s cute and creative idea was sparked by a simple moment. He had decided to take a few pictures of dogs underwater, chasing after tennis balls with their determined eyes wide open and their jaws in proper catching position. After he took the pictures, he posted them onto his website for his friends to see. Not long after, he had people begging for more pictures. He has since published more books and has plans to create more Underwater Dog related merchandise.
What does any of this have to do with marketing?
Oddly enough, the entrepreneurial ideas above show how a simple idea can turn into something extraordinarily profitable. There are many lessons to learn from these stories. In the case of Underwater Dogs, technology was a major contributing factor. Not only did Seth need an underwater camera, he also needed access to Social Media, which allowed his images to reach new audiences. Platforms like Facebook and Reddit helped to spread the word virally. New technologies open up new opportunities for brands; however, those opportunities still need to be conjured up. Many people have thrown a stick or a ball into a body of water to watch their canine companion splash and thrash as they fetch. However, Seth was the first to turn this enjoyable event into a business.
Optimizing established ideas can be beneficial for a while, but discovering new opportunities and ideas will significantly increase a marketer’s chance for success. With small moments becoming more valuable to marketing creativity, CMOs and other marketing officials need to focus their time on gathering these moments in an effort to become more creative and innovative. Fortunately, we live in a world of Web 2.0, where consumers are also major sources of information. The back and forth conversations that take place on a brand’s Social Media page contain complaints and suggestions that have the potential to create innovative and lucrative business ideas.
Customer created content has become increasingly important. Brands that want to practice good Social Media marketing will do more than just attempt to gain exposure. They will create opportunities to learn from their fans by posting thought-provoking content, then absorbing and analyzing the responsive content.