Woo-hoo! I won the Powerball!!
I was pretty sure that I was going to be saying that when I woke up the day after THE Powerball.
But, like 292 million others, I didn’t. And here’s how you know for sure: I’m writing this blog instead of sipping a mai-tai beachside on my newly purchased Caribbean island. Word of warning – if you won a healthy split of the 1.6 Billion Powerball, please stop reading this now. Or have someone else read it for you. You don’t need to read anymore. You’re rich!
Oh, but the lessons I learned by losing. Like most, I was suckered in by that sirens line – “you can't win if you don't play!!” Sure, and Carly Fiorina won't win without my vote either, right? And Chris Christie can actually walk by that box of donuts in the break room without stopping, right? (OK, that was pretty low. Sorry, Carly).
Here’s the thing, there's marketing wisdom to be found in trying to play a pure guess. 1.6 billion reasons, to be mostly accurate. Too many to list. So here are my five:
Winning creative ideas take more than guesswork. They are a product of dependable statistics, insight that requires a trained eye and the process of elimination. Notice, luck isn't involved very much. Great ideas are born from skill.
Don't forget about that gut feeling. The day I purchased my lottery tickets, I let the computer choose my numbers. I was a passive participant. Great ideas arise when you actively participate and embrace collaboration. Add your voice and ask others to add theirs. Creative idea generation is a team sport. On a side note - stupid computer!
More doesn't mean better. I'm sure a lot of people bought more tickets than I did to try and “up their odds of winning”. That’s a flawed idea in marketing. Inundating your target with more, more, more can actually lessen effectiveness. Related, having too many ideas in the hopper can actually prohibit and limit great ideas. Less is more. Eliminate the waste. Make the hard choices early.
Don’t do what everyone else is doing. Plenty of people follow the crowd, hoping to strike it rich. A great idea is usually great only once. If you’re copying, make sure that you change it enough to be seen as original. There’s a difference between being inspired by a great idea (everyone is) and plagiarizing an idea (happens all the time). Remember, the more an idea is used, redone or copied, the less effective it becomes. Just like Powerball, the odds of hitting the jackpot drop dramatically the more others play the same game.
(My Powerball) Take a chance. Try something different. Go against the grain. Play in a game you know you can win. It’s fun to dream, but it’s much better if we control the endgame. Figure out your realistic objectives, develop a solid plan and dream up a great idea based on sound strategy and insight. That’s a winning formula. Or play Mega-Millions next time. Whichever.
BTW – In case you’re wondering what I was going to do with my winnings AFTER I won the Powerball? Cure world hunger, of course. Or give every American $4.33 million dollars. Poverty solved!