That’ll NEVER work


Have you ever been hit with this response when you posed a new idea? Did it make you rethink your concept or did you dig your heels in deeper to prove the naysayer wrong?

A few years back, I wanted to develop a B2B marketing campaign using a comic book approach. I thought, a comic book is an easy read, can be visually stimulating, and is a unique way to communicate with end-users. I was fired up, certain I had a winner.

But when I pitched the idea to my internal team, I was met with a combination of blank stares and head shaking. They just couldn’t see how a B2B comic book would deliver a strong enough message. Luckily, I had one supporter in the room. And even better, he happened to be the vice president. He saw the same opportunity in this idea that I did: a captivating, innovating way to grab the attention of an audience of resellers who were inundated with the same old brochures, ads, and emails.

We developed a campaign, amidst the grumblers who were salivating at the possibility of seeing me fail so they could utter a chorus of “I told you so.”

Sorry to say, they never got the chance. The campaign was a hit, generating more inquiries than even we had projected. It also won several strategic marketing awards. And later that same year, I saw that Microsoft launched a successful comic book campaign that garnered a major award for best marketing from a leading B2B magazine.

It takes a creative mind to appreciate innovation. If you’re stuck in a group of uncreatives, find outsiders who can be more objective. And be prepared for possible failure—which is an opportunity to learn. A step in the wrong direction is at least a step. The alternative is standing still, and that leads to total stagnation.

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