Why Marketers Should Embrace Their Inner Child

Marketers are natural creative problem solvers, but they’re also just as likely as any other person to occasionally rely on old systems or models out of comfort and ease. 

One of the best ways marketers can break out of old methodologies or find creative new solutions is to embrace their inner child and ask obvious but important questions.

It’s a trick I learned from my niece. 

Innate curiosity stimulates the brain

When my niece was five-years-old, I noticed two things whenever I spent time with her. One, spaghetti sauce is surprisingly difficult to remove from clothing, and two, she asked A LOT of questions.

Any parent, uncle, grandparent, teacher, or family friend knows what I’m talking about. The endless barrage of adorable but exhausting questions that little kids specialize in. 

“Why are bears big?” I dunno, honey, it probably helps them survive the winter. “What’s winter?” It’s when the season… “What’s a season?” A season is when the Earth… “What’s the Earth?” This goes on until somehow until you’re talking about why dogs have tails. 

Children ask this endless line of questions because their curiosity is still broad: they don’t have any knowledge base to fall back on. The problem with a thing we “know” is that we can become stagnant, and assume that we understand everything because we understand a little. We all fall prey to the classic Iceberg principle of skill and knowledge:

An iceberg, most of which is underwater. The text on the protruding part says "What You Know," and the text under the water near the largest part of the iceberg says "What you don't know and can't even see"

Except children, of course, who assume that they don’t know something, and in doing so learn much faster than adults. Their constant questions are them poking under the water looking for more iceberg. 

That experience with my niece made me reflect on my own day-to-day. Specifically, I thought about how she asked questions to better understand the world around her and, thus, make decisions within it.

Allow me to explain.

Marketers don’t know what they don’t know

As marketers, we have all been there: our brand, while strong and worthy in its own right, lacks awareness. In fact, as categories become further commoditized this challenge is seemingly more and more pervasive. 

Intuitively, then, we go about finding ways to drive awareness of our brand. It is at this exact moment where we determine our fate.

If we go all-in on the goal of building awareness, then what does that really entail? Are we building campaigns that will drive impressions? If so, what does that accomplish for our brand? 

In this instance, a vanity metric like impressions is difficult to tie to tangible business results. However, if we use this time to ask more questions, we begin to understand the problem we have to overcome – or the opportunity, as I like to call it.

Enter the question burst.

Questions create answers

A question burst is a highly effective mode of brainstorming that focuses on broadening the problem space. In other words, by asking more questions, we open up the problem and begin to see other paths to a solution.

Going back to our previous example of awareness, a series of questions might go as follows:

  1. Why don’t people know about our brand?
  2. Who are we targeting?
  3. Have we explored other consumers as targets?
  4. Who else can get value from our product?

It is not necessarily in asking those questions where you find the ‘a-ha!’, but in the process of answering them. Is there an opportunity to go after a new target? 

Take laundry detergent, for example. Most brands opt to target females. But, why? Over 60% of men under 35 are doing their own laundry. Why not create a campaign that speaks to them? Not only will you be reaching a previously ignored audience, but you’ll help drive sales.

Questions only open the door

Asking more questions is no panacea, but it is certainly a helpful tool. One that, when coupled with the right creative approach, can really help drive a brand forward.

I guess cleaning the spaghetti sauce off my niece’s shirt was worthwhile, after all.

Are you asking the right questions to grow your brand? Connect with Inspira’s team of creative solution specialists today.

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