in marketing •  last year




The secret to BIG IDEAS on a regular basis. Ones you can write eye-catching copy about. Ones to boost your commerce business or sell that sputtering listing...


Yes, as non-creative as it sounds. Actually, it sounds pretty boring. Research...sitting in front of Google, reading a book, talking to experts...that's where your BIG IDEAS come from. The 'creative' aspect comes from taking a BIG IDEA and growing it into a compelling sales piece.

Wanna know the most famous big idea in advertising ever?

This was written by ad legend David Ogilvy. Ogilvy went through over 30 ideas that were rejected before coming up with this headline. Guess where Mr. Ogilvy came up with this idea?

He didn't. It's one of the biggest lies in the industry.

Ogilvy found this line in one of the manuals for the car. Actually, a mechanic made up this quote. Ogilvy was reading the car manual as part of his research, and BAM BAM!

The "Genius" comes from Ogilvy yanking this line out of a boring manual. After which, he created a compelling, informative ad that drastically increased Rolls Royce sales.

**How do I do research? **

There's no playbook for coming up with BIG IDEAS. But, here's how you can start: Let's use an example to be concrete.

--->What if you have a common service. Say a painter. You paint residential homes around town. There are 10 other painting companies you compete with. You don't feel special. But, you are.

--->Pull up Google. Google will be your best friend for the next 10-20 hours.

--->Start researching basic questions: Why do homeowners hire a painter? How much do they spend? What are the common colors? What horror stories are out there? Any government laws about painting (or, even better, about to happen)?

--->Watch talks given by painters (fun, huh?)...what insights do they have?

---->Talk to your customers. Ask them simple questions like you researched

--->Read 1-3 books about painting, residential painting

---->Watch HGTV and listen to what homeowners say about paint, paint colors, what it does to the room

--->Now, you might ask: 'Ok, WTF am I doing with all this basic information???"

I'll tell ya.

You're looking for a golden nugget somewhere. Keep everything you research (even if you've heard it before) in a Google doc. After digesting all this information, step away for a few days. Let your subconscious take over.

[HINT: This is when a walk or sex might generate a BIG IDEA]

At some point, you'll piece together an idea. You pull a bunch of data together and discover something: A house painted blue fetches 5% more in the sales price than a brown house (NOTE: MADE THIS UP).

**Suddenly, you have a BIG IDEA. **

TWO MEN SOLD THE EXACT SAME HOUSE, EXCEPT FOR ONE, SMALL DETAIL. ONE OF THEM MADE 5% MORE ON THE SALE(This 5% equated to an extra $20,000 in cash at closing because of this one, small detail) ​

That headline could get cleaned up a bit, but you get the point. You have a BIG IDEA that's different than your competitors.

Guess what? Those people selling their homes WILL ABSOLUTELY READ YOUR SALES PIECE.

"But what about the people who aren't selling their house?" Write another frickin' letter about another BIG IDEA! You can do more than one!! After awhile, it's a ton of fun.

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