recently posted a great blog on the 3 epicenters of innovation in modern marketing. The premise being that opportunity lies in the intersecting points of Customer Analytics, Customer Experiences and Customer Communications. These intersections are where we see marketing technology help to create “big experiences” through personalization, advanced targeting and more.

Marketing technology empowers marketers to think big. The sky’s the limit on the remarkable customer experiences we can create to help grow powerful and differentiated brands. Technology frees marketers from the constraints of how things get done, so we can focus on simply making it happen and creating great customer experiences.

But where do the big ideas for great customer experiences come from? Here are five readily available sources to help you generate your big ideas:

1. Customers. Who are you reaching? Who are you trying to reach? Who are you missing? Developing personas for your customers can help you fill in some blanks on your media buys, messaging, offers and more. There are also incredible areas of opportunity to speak directly to specific audiences using pre-conversion segmentation.  Pre-conversion segmentation lets you take different users down different paths based upon their audience segment. Much like a decision tree. Here’s a great example of segmentation from Citrix Systems where users were segmented by the size.  Are you a big hospital or a small hospital? Citrix yielded big results from this campaign — a 556% lift in conversions. Segmentation data points can also be collected that can help you drive targeting for future campaigns.

2. Analytics. Big data is a definite source for creating big ideas. Navigating big data can be the bigger challenge. There are easier ways to find your areas of opportunity for creating big ideas hidden within your web analytics by simply changing your perspective. It’s easy to find places where you might not be hitting the mark on your users expectations. Low conversions on a keyword set that targets your core audience could mean you need a pretty radical shift in your messaging. High volume traffic, with low conversions, is a solid indicator that you could benefit from some segmentation strategies on your landing pages. Varying performance by traffic source or medium is a call for experimentation to ensure you’re serving the right experience for the right traffic source. Step back and look at your analytics through a different lens and see what you come up with.

3. Testing. Often times we see big rewards from high-level experiential testing. When you’re testing full experiences against each other, maybe a tight, 3-tabbed microsite against a single page experience, the results can be surprising. Learn how your audience wants to engage with you, and the big ideas will come. You might find that results on a given experience could be different by traffic source, or even keyword set based upon where a user is in the buying cycle. Adopting a culture of experimentation with your landing experiences is often where you’ll see the biggest lift. From there you can refine your experiences with a more tactical MVT for subsequent lift. For more on testing, check out the Guide to Online Testing.

4. Sales. Your sales team could be one of the richest sources of great information to help fuel your big ideas. Your sales people are on the front lines. They talk to every prospective customer that comes through your forms that either becomes a customer, or doesn’t. They have an understanding of the quality, and they know the reasons why customers are picking up the phone to reach out to you because they’re talking to them. By partnering with your sales team to understand who’s buying, who’s not buying, and why— you can gain valuable feedback that can drive future messaging, content marketing strategies, audience segmentation, testing strategies, keywords buys and more.

5. Life. Your every day interaction with brands can help to drive your big ideas. As marketers we tend to look at marketing and creative experiences differently than the average user. We evaluate effectiveness in the execution of relevance, message match, cohesiveness, ease of conversion and so much more. We also say, “Wow, job well done. I want that.” and bring the ideas back to adapt them as our own. Look to your every day interactions with the brands you do business with to inspire your big ideas. A word of caution around copying your competitors. Copying is not inspiring. After all, who really knows if it’s right and it’s working?

Where do your big ideas come from? We’d love to hear where you find your big, inspirational ideas that help you to create great customer experiences.