Introduction to idea management for marketing

Ideation is an essential part of a marketing team's responsibilities. It is the process of coming up with new and creative ways to engage your audience and drive growth. After all, every breakthrough marketing program or campaign starts with an idea. But on a more tactical level, ideation can include identifying new content ideas, sales tools, or techniques to reach prospective customers.

Managing requests is another big part of what a marketing team does. Typically, these requests come from customer-facing teams that need information, assets, or other materials to best represent your company's brands and products.

But it can be difficult to capture and organize all the incoming ideas and requests that come your way — let alone decide which ones to implement. Since everything is coming from different groups and channels, you may be keeping a tally of it all in a static document that requires constant updating.

This is where idea management comes in. It is the process of gathering, storing, prioritizing, and selecting relevant insights to improve your existing marketing programs and inspire new ones. The goal is to capture the strongest ideas so you can include them on your marketing roadmap and ultimately improve what you deliver to customers.

Why is idea management important?

Continuous innovation puts you in a strong position for more engagement with and growth from your marketing efforts. Insights can come from a wide variety of people and sources — executives, your marketing teammates, and customer-facing teams that hear from users firsthand about the problems they are trying to solve. Research and customer surveys can also be valuable for discovering insights that you can apply to your next program or campaign.

But fielding a large amount of feedback and suggestions can be overwhelming. A solid idea management process gives you a way to capture and review every request. You can embrace all the incoming data and use it to improve your marketing efforts. For example, you might think of a way to counter a new competitor after a colleague in sales asks you to analyze a specific tool. Or you might learn that customers need additional training after a teammate in customer support requests a webinar on certain functionality.

Manage requests using the ideas overview page.

This is an example of an ideas overview dashboard in Aha!

Establishing an idea management process allows you to:

  • Stay close to what customers want and focus your marketing efforts accordingly

  • Empower internal teams, such as sales and customer support, to share their requests and feedback from customers

  • Identify common themes that support your marketing strategy and overall business goals

  • Discover an idea that sparks your next breakthrough campaign or piece of content

  • Determine how practical each idea is by judging whether or not it relates to a specific opportunity

  • Add the best ideas to your marketing roadmap and then act on them

Where do marketing ideas and requests come from?

Being receptive to input from your colleagues and customers helps you hone your messaging and deliver better campaigns. Here is an overview of some of the groups that typically reach out to the marketing team and what they might request:

Executives

Executives might ask for major efforts such as a website redesign, updated logo, or content package aimed at a new audience the company wants to target.

Product

The product team might request content for an upcoming launch or collateral to help educate customers about new functionality.

Sales

Salespeople might ask for specific sales enablement tools with custom branding, such as market research, data sheets, updated competitor analysis, or help with an upcoming presentation.

Customer support

The customer support team might inquire if there is any existing content on a particular topic that customers are talking about or if there are plans to hold a training or publish new related content.

Human resources and operations

These teammates might need supporting marketing materials to post on an online job board or for a company event.

Prospects and customers

Customers may submit comments about your product or service through your website or social media channels. But most customers will not approach the marketing team directly. Instead, you might be proactive in asking for feedback at the end of a marketing video, then use that feedback to improve future work.

Marketing

Your marketing teammates have ideas and requests of their own. For example, the content team might want the ability to submit ideas for future blog posts in a portal and organize them by category. Or the field marketing team might share ideas for future campaigns based on their discussions with customers.

Great marketing is almost always the result of brilliant ideas. And those ideas come from all over the organization — not just the marketing team. But being receptive to ideas is just the start.

It is important to create a standardized process for gathering and managing the ideas that come in. Many marketing teams use idea management software to give both colleagues and customers a portal to submit ideas and requests. This allows you to gather ideas in a centralized location and gives your team the power to promote the best ones directly to your marketing roadmap.


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