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Marketing Brain Trust

By Paul Lemberg
Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Rest assured that no matter how smart you are, you do not know everything about marketing. You don't even know anything about marketing your product! You can't figure everything out yourself, or see all the angles, or provide every bit of critical thinking.

The solution? Create a marketing brain trust.

Use the mastermind principle which says more brainpower brought to bear on an issue means more ideas and greater insight. Gather together a mixed bag of thoughtful, intelligent people who have an interest in helping you create breakthroughs in your enterprise.

Adding brains to the brain trust produces non-linear results. Breakthrough results. Unreasonable results. Quantum Results. Because of the interactions among several people's ideas bouncing off each other, the increased thinking- effectiveness can be multiplicative or even exponential.

Enroll people into your marketing brain trust. Find people who have a vested interest in your success, or the success of your business. You can't have a great brain trust unless people are truly committed.

Your marketing brain trust can take different forms. If you want it to be official (and tax deductible) call it your Board of Advisors. Make it the board's job to help you pilot your venture. You can even ask each advisor to be accountable for a specific segment of information or knowledge, but their real role and true benefit is to work as a group - to release the mind synergy.

Meet periodically - monthly or quarterly - in person, or by phone, video conference, the Internet, or some combination. Check in with individual brain trust members between meetings. Keep them up to date on your progress; let them know how you are doing. You can pay your advisors and honorarium, or give them options on future ownership.

A different approach is to form a marketing mastermind group. This is less formal and less committed than a Board of Advisors. Gather the mastermind members together periodically and provide refreshments - dinner or perhaps just a case of wine. (I find that red is better than white for masterminding.) Entertain them while they ponder specific issues with you.

The job of the marketing mastermind is to bring alternate perspectives, help you create ideas, and in general, think things through in a way that looks differently than you would yourself.

Let your master-minders know topics in advance, and provide them with appropriate backgrounders to get their creative juices flowing. You may also ask them to suggest topics based on what they already know about you.

Try to make this group diverse. Your mastermind members need not be familiar with your particular business; in fact they need not be business people at all. Get artists, scientists, musicians, technologists, writers, humanitarians, hackers, theologians, philosophers, and psychologists - all sorts of creative thinkers, along with marketers, entrepreneurs and executives, to complement those members familiar with your specific business.

You should limit the size of your mastermind group to no more than ten or twelve people, although you can get started with as few as three or four. Really, any number is going to be an increase over just you.

Lastly, create a simple Roster of Marketing Brains. This is the network of friends, associates and acquaintance you can call on who are expert thinkers in specific areas, and might have some vested interest in seeing you succeed. Some of these people you barter with, some do it because they think what you are up to is cool and going to make a difference in the world, some of them you pay as consultants. You may never gather all these people together at once, but assemble them in ad-hoc groups to tackle whatever issues are at hand.

These three marketing brain trust formats are not mutually exclusive; you might have them all. After all, the when it comes to creative minds, the more the merrier.

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About the Author
To find out more about kicking your marketing strategies into high gear to increase your sales and profits, get in touch with Paul Lemberg at (


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