What’s Your Big Idea?

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Since man started selling goods & services, success has hinged on The Big Idea. Unfortunately, few services companies embrace the concept of The Big Idea, and as a consequence tend to sound remarkably similar to their competition. Standing out, requires a Big Idea so let’s discuss how to create one.

(This is an interactive article-you’ll get a lot more out of it if you actually do the exercises.)

Big Ideas have at their root the customer or client. What’s the problem that this person or organization has, for which you provide a solution? Force yourself to list 7 of these. (As I said, go ahead and actually do this. You won’t develop a Big Idea by just reading a blog post. It requires some mental heavy lifting, so go ahead-I’ll wait right here. Don’t pass the ******* line until you’ve done this.


Take a look at your list and throw out the top 3. Those are the ones that everyone comes up with. Also throw away the last one. It’s something that you added to the list so you could be done with the assignment.

So now you’re left with 3 important problems. Pick one. It doesn’t matter which, since you’ll eventually do this exercise for each one.

Write the problem on the top of piece of paper.

Now write down 7 ways you help solve the problem. Can be specific or general-either one is fine. (Go ahead and do this. Don’t read beyond the ***** line until you’re done.)


Look at your list of 7 solutions. Throw out the top 3-they’re the obvious ones. Same thing for the last one, for the same reason as before. Now you’ve got three ways you solve this particular problem.


Google the problem.

Read everything that comes up on the first page of search results including the paid listings. In fact pay particular attention to the pages that are advertised, since that’s most likely to be your compassion.

Anyone focused on the same problem as you? If so, that’s a plus. That means that this is likely a real problem, and not a problem that you think people have.

Any of your solutions there? Are they expressed in roughly the same terms as what you wrote down in the exercise? If so, that’s not so good. Scratch them off your list.

Repeat this exercise until you have a solution that no-one else is focusing on.

That’s your big idea.

It doesn’t mean that other companies couldn’t make the claim if they wanted to.

It means that they’re not.

So this is where you plant your flag.

Regardless of whether you’re in b2c, b2b, working with big companies, or small. You need a Big Idea, and this his how you get one.

One of my first jobs was with Anheuser Busch. By tradition, all of us young new-hires were invited to a lunch hosted by August Busch II, who led the company to one of its greatest periods of growth in the 1950s & 60s. Mr Busch was elderly, but a wonderful storyteller. He said one of the greatest lessons he learn was when “Schlitz kick our ass with their ‘brewed with live steam’, big idea.”

Schlitz and Budweiser were in neck to neck competition, when Schlitz moved into the #1 spot on the strength of their positioning as the beer that’s brewed with live steam.

“In fact” as Mr Busch pointed out, “every brewery could make that claim, but Schlitz jumped on it first and made it their own.”

That’s a big idea.

As many of your know, I do a lot of work with financial clients, and I spend considerable amount of time with many of them working on their Big Idea.

Guess what one they come up with the most often?

Will  you outlive your retirement savings?

Great Big Idea.

Only one problem.

It’s Ken Fischer’s big idea. That’s where he’s planted his flag, and then owned the property through relentless and extremely effective advertising and marketing.

Every time someone copies his Big Idea and tries to promote it, all they’re really doing is increasing Ken Fischer’s visibility. This is even more of an issue today when people remember the big idea and that’s what they put into the search engine. I wonder how many thousands of people, the copycats have inadvertently driven to his business.

Which sucks for the copycats, but underscores the importance and the value of having a Big Idea.

So what’s yours?

Want me to help you develop your big idea?

Mark Satterfield, Gentle Rain Marketing — Author , Marketing Consulting Expert, Lead Generation, Business Development, Marketing Strategy, Get More Clients, Increase Revenue — Click here for his Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube

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About the Author:

Mark Satterfield, Gentle Rain Marketing -- Author , Marketing Consulting Expert, Lead Generation, Business Development, Marketing Strategy, Get More Clients, Increase Revenue -- Click here for his Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube

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