shutterstock_161159720As a marketer, we search for inspiration any place we can find it—at our daughter’s dance recital, on the train commuting to work, in line at CVS waiting to check out… the world is full of marketing inspiration. And it often comes when we least expect it.

We are officially at the halfway point of the year, meaning exhaustion and creative blockages are at an all-time high. You may be out of ideas for your blogging platform; you may be struggling with the motivation to finish that white paper; and you may be fearful that your innovation engine is starting to run on empty. So what’s a marketer to do? It’s time to learn from your surroundings. And here’s how to do it:

  • Visit Your Favorite Consumer Website: Chances are your bookmark tab is filled with links to competitor blogs and online media outlets. But today, instead of doing the same old routine, try browsing the Internet for fun. Think of your favorite brand (i.e. Coca-Cola, Target, Best Buy, etc.) and visit its website. Check out its blog and read a few entries. Scroll through their recent tweets. Download their most recent video. Take a break from visiting the websites you have to and spend a little time feeding the consumer inside of you to rev your creative engine.
  • Strike Up a Conversation: You spend enough time conversing with your coworkers and significant other. This week, strike up a conversation with a stranger—the cashier at the supermarket, the passenger sitting next to you on the flight, or your kid’s babysitter. Ask him or her about recent travels, thoughts on current events and feelings about recent marketing campaigns. Talking with different folks will encourage you to consider things in a different light.
  • Keep Your Eyes Open: Marketing inspiration is everywhere. It’s in the posters hanging on the commuter rail, the digital signage in the airport terminal and the commercials interrupting your favorite TV shows. Instead of going through life with blinders on (something which is unavoidable due to the sheer craziness of our lives), engage your senses. Read what’s right in front of you, listen to the music playing and engage with tactile marketing campaigns.
  • Ask Questions: The next time you see something unusual, question it. By asking questions you will be more likely to search for answers and challenge existing norms. An inquisitive nature is paramount to innovation. It results in you challenging your existing content marketing assets—like white papers, blogs, social media, and infographics—and, in so doing, improving upon the quality of each vehicle.

When we stumble upon a road block—and brain block—our gut reaction is to push through it. To accept satisfactory. To live in a world of complacency. This week, I challenge you to push past these creative impasses. Find inspiration in the world around you; awaken your senses; and uncover a new world of content marketing possibilities.

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