Got a great marketing idea? Have someone else pitch it.

Light Bulb (FM)

Have you ever gone to your boss with what you think is a creative marketing idea that solves a problem, only to have s/he shrug it off?

Or, have had an epiphany for an enhancement to your marketing strategy that you know will drive results, only to have your boss pick it apart?

Worse yet, have you ever heard someone from outside your organization present to your boss a similar idea of yours, only to have your boss love it?

Well, you’re not alone. And there’s a reason why.

Apparently, “where the idea comes from appears to influence whether people think it’s creative” explains Shankar Vedantam, a science correspondent for NPR.

In the NPR story “Why We Miss Creative Ideas That Are Right Under Our Noses,” Vedantam refers to a research study where two groups of volunteers hear about a new shoe that uses nano technology to reduce blisters. One group is told that the idea for the technology was developed far away. The other group is told that the idea was developed near by.

The result: both groups reacted differently to the idea.

“We found that when we told people the idea was generated far away, they rated the idea as significantly more creative than when the idea was generated nearby,” explains University of San Diego researcher Jennifer Mueller.

It seems that when we think about things that are “far away,” we are in a different mindset, a bit more accepting of “creative ideas.” On the other hand, when we’re mired in the day-to-day, and we think about ideas that come from “the inside,” we’re more likely to poke holes in the idea, looking at it from a very pragmatic perspective. Managers tend to be risk averse.

This helps us understand why a consultant who swoops in from another city can present the same creative marketing idea you had, and get traction from your boss.

So rather than get frustrated about your marketing ideas not striking a chord with your boss; find or create your allies who can do the pitching for you. Or, at least find people who are outside of your boss’ immediate day-to-day and have them sow the seeds of your genius idea with her/him. Using “external” influences may be the best approach to getting your ideas in front of your boss and accepted.

What do you think? Can you relate?


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