Wednesday, July 18, 2012

You There – You Don’t Know Everything

I’m not telling you this to hurt your feelings. I’m telling you because knowing that you know nothing – to paraphrase Socrates – is the only true wisdom. 

When you recognize the unknown, you ask questions. And asking questions illuminates answers. 

For example, ever heard of the Five Whys? It’s a technique originated by Toyota in which you get to the root of a problem by asking "why" five times. Watch a good Five Whys primer from Harvard Business Review below.

But asking questions isn’t just good problem-solving policy. It’s essential to all leadership, creativity and innovation.

The key is to continuously break free from the biases and assumptions that hold back fresh ideas. After all, you know what happens when you assume, right? (It’s the mother of all mistakes.)

That’s why, in B2B marketing just like anywhere else, it always pays to start by challenging your assumptions and asking questions, whether you’re:
  •  Launching a product
  • Considering a brand extension
  • Starting an ad campaign
  • Entering a new market
  • Going after new customers

What’s the main objective and why? What’s the primary audience? What do they care about? How does what you’re offering make life better for them? And how do those answers fit into a single, clear message for the marketplace?

Those are just some of the questions bouncing around our office as we challenge our inner-know-it-alls and uncover new perspectives.

And now a question for you: What questions do you find helpful in your process?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Fantastic Video Tom. In my experience, many small business owners run must more passion than on sound business models, such as Toyota's 5 Why's. Great tip about taking small steps as problems repeat. At least progress will be made even if it is baby steps.