As a marketer, it’s your job to come up with the plan and execute successful marketing campaigns for your company or your client. But even if you’re highly experienced, we all have those days when our minds just draw a blank. You’re staring at the screen, waiting for an idea to arrive, and you get nothing. These are the times when brainstorming techniques can work wonders and get you over the hump. The strategic brainstorming techniques in this article will guide you through TikTok marketing campaigns and give you that extra competitor advantage.
Brainstorming is a group creativity technique that involves using technical tactics to find a positive conclusion to a specific problem. In simple terms, it’s a strategy used to solve problems by allowing members of a team to contribute their ideas in an open meeting.
Our TikTok Marketing Agency, House of Marketers regularly par-take in brainstorming meetings to develop creative influencer marketing strategies for our clients. By combining conclusive data, our ability to strategise campaigns and develop intelligent solutions for our client’s obstacles, we’re able to drive incredible results in marketing campaigns.
Many great marketing campaigns started as a simple idea spoken into words during a brainstorming session. But how do you brainstorm effectively? Where do you even start? This article will discuss 21 of the best marketing brainstorming techniques, tips and tricks that work if you want to run an effective session. Read on if that sounds like what you need.
“At its heart, marketing is about creativity and coming up with new ideas. And if you’re struggling to get into the right creative headspace, then it’s time to get the whole team involved.”
Why Is Brainstorming Important?
At its heart, marketing is about creativity and coming up with new ideas. And if you’re struggling to get into the right creative headspace, it may just be time to get the whole team involved. There are many benefits to involving the whole team in a brainstorming session as shown below.
- A different set of eyes on a challenge can help you gain a new perspective, which can be crucial when problem-solving.
- You may discover some quietly creative team members, who might not have voiced their ideas if left alone.
- Brainstorming sessions can be fun and provide a much needed morale booster for struggling marketing teams.
- Brainstorming can also boost team cohesion according to some studies.
- They bring the creativity out of everyone.
Did you know that the founders of Google grew their business by making every employee dedicate 20% of their time to creativity and innovation. That’s how Google has become the powerhouse it is today! “We encourage our employees, in addition to their regular projects, to spend 20% of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google,” said Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page
But if you can’t brainstorm effectively, you’re unlikely to get very far. Here are 21 brainstorming techniques that will help you solve challenges and come up with new marketing campaigns.
#1 – Set an agenda before the meeting
If you give people a chance to research in advance, they are more likely to come up with high-quality ideas. There is no point in brainstorming about a topic that nobody knows anything about. For example, you won’t gain much by asking someone who doesn’t know anything about NFTs, to come up with marketing ideas for an NFT exchange platform.
Give your team members a set topic to prepare for before the meeting, allowing them some time to gain more in-depth knowledge about the subject before presenting their ideas.
# 2 – Start by asking questions
Before you develop an effective marketing strategy, you first need to establish some key pieces of information. Who is your audience? What does your audience care about? What makes your audience smile? Also, what is your audience interested in and why? Why does the audience feel this way?
By getting the whole team to answer these crucial questions first, you can start brainstorming the perfectly targeted campaign.
# 3 – Create topic-based spider diagrams to spawn creative ideas
Spider diagrams are an effective brainstorming technique. They work by having a core topic and then creating an outer circle for every related subtopic. You can use this diagram to spawn ideas in a topic-based fashion. By doing this, you organise your ideas logically and deepen your understanding of the core topic.
It ensures the goal is always central to the brainstorming session, always keeping the process on track. They’re also simple and fast to create, so it’s a great way to dive into brainstorming quickly.
# 4 – Ask people to arrive with ideas
Ask people to spend 5-10 minutes before the session coming up with something they can contribute. This avoids a situation where you are left staring at a sea of blank faces, and it also helps save time during the meeting itself. The result should be a more productive brainstorming session that leads to actionable ideas.
If people do not have anything to contribute, hold them accountable so that they will be more prepared next time.
# 5 – Use free Google tools to inform your marketing campaign
There are lots of free tools available through Google that will help you generate more effective marketing ideas. Google is often referred to as the collective brain of the Internet. As such, it provides invaluable insight into the thoughts and desires of your target audience.
# 6 – Look for influencer insights
If you’re conducting influencer campaigns, take a deep dive into influencer statistics and insights surrounding the types of content and niches that are relevant to your future campaign. By taking the time to find out more about influencers, you can zero in on what your target market cares about and what makes them tick. This will help you gain a better understanding of how to reach out and engage your audience.
# 7 – Get out the whiteboard and sticky notes
Sometimes hands-on collaboration gets people more engaged. We’re all stuck to a screen most of the time, so your team may appreciate the chance to take a break and stretch their legs. Having a physical board or a large A3 piece of paper allows everyone a chance to contribute their ideas with less inhibition. This is perfect for more reserved team members who may not feel as comfortable stating their ideas out loud in front of the whole room.
“Some people work well in a group dynamic, while others can be more productive working by themselves. Quieter periods of independent work give everyone a chance to focus and use their unique skills and strengths to make a valuable contribution.”
# 8 – Combine both teamwork and independent work
Brainstorming as a team is often very productive, but sometimes certain team members can dominate the conversation and drown out quieter individuals. By switching things up and allowing both teamwork and independent work during the meeting, you increase the chances of everyone getting their ideas heard.
Some people work well in a group dynamic, while others can be more productive working by themselves. Quieter periods of independent work give everyone a chance to focus and use their unique skills and strengths to make a valuable contribution.
# 9 – Use the S.M.A.R.T. criteria as a guide
S.M.A.R.T., which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound is a handy brainstorming technique. Use this criterion to set your goals before the meeting. After your brainstorming session, score your ideas according to this criterion for an idea of what will work best for your campaign. For example, “We will use social media influencers to promote our brand” is not very S.M.A.R.T., but “We will use TikTok influencers with over 200k followers and an engagement rate greater than 10% to create content that increases our app installs by 15% in the next 8 weeks” is much more data-driven, defined and strategic.
# 10 – Draw diagrams to express things visually
Sometimes diagrams can convey meaning more effectively than words alone. Admittedly, some people are not very creative when it comes to drawing. However, everyone can draw a useful diagram that gets the point across.
Venn diagrams, mind maps, and flow charts are quick and easy to draw, and sometimes they can lead to a eureka moment for team members. It’s easier to connect the dots and reveal insights that might have otherwise been missed.
# 11 – Watch video content that relates to the subject
If your team lacks inspiration, they may need a bit of a creativity booster. YouTube is a goldmine of free video content on nearly any topic. As such, you’ll be sure to find something that relates to your team’s goals and provides some inspiration.
Watching relevant videos can be a great way of jump-starting your brainstorming session and can quickly increase everyone’s knowledge on a specific subject.
Also, it doesn’t have to be competitor content. For example, if you’re a health nutritional brand looking to create a TikTok campaign, watching fitness brand adverts, or even junk food brand adverts could drive some ideas, which you could then apply to your own campaign. You don’t need to focus on competitors when watching video content. You don’t even need to watch adverts.
# 12 – Start figure storming
To start figure storming, pick a few well-known figures that are not in the room (Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Ironman, etc.). Then ask your team how they would approach your next marketing campaign. It might seem like a silly idea at first, but figure storming has two purposes.
Firstly, it’s a fun icebreaker. Secondly, it allows people to express out-of-the-box ideas without feeling self-conscious. You might think your idea is too ridiculous to suggest, but if it’s got someone else’s name on it, you might be more likely to put it out there. It has the added benefit of allowing team members to come up with ideas without being constrained by things that usually hamper creativity, like budget and time.
# 13 – Run a competitor analysis
It’s not always necessary to reinvent the wheel. Your competitors have already done some of the hard work for you, by finding out what works and what doesn’t in your market. By analysing their marketing failures and success stories, you can gain valuable insight into what will work for your brand.
To do this, first identify the competitors that are most similar to your company or the competitors that are successful. Then pick out some popular marketing strategies they have used. Use this information during your brainstorming sessions to consider how you could build your own successful marketing strategies based on their experiences. There are plenty of social media tools online to assess competitors.
# 14 – Set a timer
If people are having a hard time coming up with ideas, set the timer for 5 minutes and allow them to quickly jot down their thoughts. Set a goal — they must write down 10 ideas in 5 minutes. If you want to make it more interesting, turn it into a competition. Whoever comes up with the most ideas in 5 minutes wins.
This can be a very effective tool for people who are being too critical of their own ideas or spending too much time overthinking.
# 15 – Create your customer personas
Customer personas are generalised representations of your target audience. They help you understand who they are, what their preferences are, and how they think. This allows you to metaphorically step into their shoes and try to imagine what they really want from your brand.
To work this into your brainstorming sessions, create your customer personas before your meeting. Thereafter, let team members brainstorm ideas designed to specifically appeal to each persona.
After you’ve done this, it’s a good idea to actually look at the data in your paid advertising campaigns, or your website visitors, to make sure your actual visitors and your ideal target audience are aligned.
# 16 – Get out of the office
Sometimes our surroundings can help or hinder our creativity. The late Steve Jobs preferred to brainstorm while taking a walk. So if you’re not inspired at work, move your brainstorming session to the outdoors. This can help energise your team members and put them in a better frame of mind for ideating.
It can also be a good opportunity to take a break from the office so everyone can rejuvenate and return to work refreshed and ready to be more productive.
# 17 – Lead a design-thinking workshop
Design-thinking is a problem-solving process that helps you quickly generate “out of the box” ideas. It involves a four-step process: empathise, define, ideate, prototype. The first step is trying to understand the people you are trying to reach. Thereafter, define the problems that affect them. The next step is to brainstorm as many solutions as possible — or ideate. The final step is to choose the most effective solution and put it into action.
“Running a simple brainstorming competition can light a fire under your team members and help them to get excited about the upcoming campaign. Give each team member a different topic and set a time limit for them to submit their ideas”
# 18 – Run a brainstorming competition
Running a simple brainstorming competition can light a fire under your team members and help them get excited about the upcoming campaign. Give each team member a different topic and set a time limit for them to submit their ideas, for example, 30 minutes. Then use a scoring system to determine the best idea, and celebrate the winner. Set prizes for the winners to further motivate them.
# 19 – Conduct a S.W.O.T. analysis
S.W.O.T. stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It is a business analysis tool that helps you understand what you’re doing well or poorly, what is happening in the market that could be beneficial to your campaign, and what your competitors are doing.
You can use S.W.O.T. to analyse your business, and then use these insights to guide your session. Alternatively, you can also use it to rank your ideas. Ask your team members — what are the strengths of each idea? What are their weaknesses? What could potentially go wrong?
# 20 – Do some warm-up exercises
Warm-up exercises can break the ice and provide a way for people to transition out of their everyday work routine and get into brainstorming mode. You can use entertaining games to get people into the right frame of mind for problem-solving.
“The Expert” is a great example. Ask team members to shout out two nouns to create a new hypothetical product — the more ludicrous the better. Participants must then pretend to be experts on the product and “sell it” to the audience.
# 21 – Swap brainstorming for brainwriting
Brainwriting is the quiet alternative to brainstorming. It works best in teams where there are a lot of dominant personalities who may overwhelm the conversation. During a brainwriting session, one person writes down their ideas on a piece of paper, then passes it to the person next to them. The recipient must read each idea silently, then build and improve upon the ideas on the paper. The process continues until every participant has added an idea and passed the paper along.
It’s a method that can reduce social anxieties or social conforming, which can come into play during a brainstorming session with multiple people.
What Happens Next with your Brainstorming Techniques?
When done right, these brainstorming techniques can be a great way to create your next big marketing success story. Not every idea is going to be great; in fact, most of them won’t. But that’s part of the brainstorming process (and part of the fun).
Sometimes, seemingly ridiculous ideas can lead to brilliant campaigns. That’s why it’s important to implement brainstorming sessions where everyone feels comfortable to contribute without inhibition. Remember, even if you only get one great idea out of a brainstorming session, it’s still time well spent.
But to make sure your brainstorming session doesn’t go wasted; you need to take action. After evaluating all the ideas and zeroing in on the ones with the most potential, you must get the ball rolling. Don’t sit on your ideas — turn them into a reality.
As Drew Houstan, Dropbox Co-founder, and CEO once said, “Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.” Marketing always involves experimentation and failure, but if you don’t try then you won’t succeed!
Interested in launching a powerful TikTok marketing campaign? Want to leave the brainstorming techniques and campaign execution to our team? To learn more about how we can take your upcoming campaign to the next level, get in touch with our expert team today.
House of Marketers (HOM) is a leading TikTok Marketing Agency. Our global agency was built by early TikTok Employees & TikTok Partners, which gives us the insider knowledge to help leading brands, like Redbull, Playtika, Badoo, and HelloFresh win on TikTok. Want us to convert more of Gen Z and Millennials with TikTok? Get in touch with our friendly team, here.