Making the business case for your creative idea

Give your big idea a little love - and a better chance at success - with this simple approach

Your new idea is, of course, awesome.

But like many new ideas in the world of marketing, the world might not be ready to agree with you yet. Or more to the point: Your organization is not ready to agree that your idea is awesome.


Allow me to illustrate:


Even the best idea in the world faces friction by committee, consensus or a colleague that doesn’t seem to “get” it.


So what’s the difference between having a great idea and actually being able to launch one? Based on our experience in bringing ideas to life at all sorts of organizations, we’ve generated the following checklist:



Where’s the white space in the market where this idea could exist?

Do enough homework so that you can couch your idea in the context of the market. Give better rationale than “we thought of” or “I think we should”. In other words, support the idea with data and evidence that’s hard to argue with. Highlight a consumer behavior change. Emphasize a shift in your market. Show how the future is coming fast. You may have been dreaming of this idea forever but your colleagues are hearing about it for the first time. Tell the story of why it matters, why it matters now, and why your organization is the one to solve it. Make it obvious why your organization needs to embrace the idea.



How will we know we are successful?

Develop a testable hypothesis. Show the If/Then value exchange of your idea. Demonstrate how your creative idea drives value to your audience and your organization. For example, if we solve problems for our audience in moments of high anxiety, we can build trust and permission that translates into potential opportunity for revenue.  Make it tangible what the idea can do.



How will this help support my colleague’s goals?

Show not only how your idea will work, but how it also supports or syncs with the goals of your counterparts. It takes a corporate village to raise a marketing idea and too many marketers insist on going it alone. The best way to achieve support from your colleagues is to support them with your idea. Allow them early glimpses and metered input as you develop your pilot concept. Map out the logistics of executing the idea. Ensure your colleagues understand the moving pieces of the project and the proposed roll-out plan. Listening early means support later – and a better chance at success along the way. Make it clear how your idea will help.



How will this impact our business (not just our marketing)?

This is the step most idea creators gravitate to, but they tend to get here too early or come unprepared. Too many creators think selling the idea (see above) isn’t part of the gig. And even more make the mistake of thinking their idea speaks for itself. Or that it should be intuitive how it drives value for your business. Make it obvious to the organization why your idea works.



How can we test small and learn big?

You can make an idea too big for its own good out the gate. The trick to getting your creative idea approved is showing how your big idea is actually a small one (and this can be a key part of your pitch). It raises expectations and demands more investment (and scrutiny!) The bigger the idea, the harder it is to get it off the ground. So, map out a pilot approach with a plan to test and learn from there. Make it possible for the idea to gain traction.


Be ready if your If/Then statement starts to come true, and if it needs to pivot. In the meantime, stay patient and focus on the positive. There will be doubters and there will be challenges; the trick is to use them as an opportunity to improve the product.


Know that big change is usually the result of several hundred little changes that come before it. So focus on moving forward the pieces that you can and know that no creative idea launches in a day.


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