How to Tell if Your Marketing Idea is Good or Not

“I wrote an email about an elf…and I need your help.”

That was the email I sent to my coach after writing an email sequence recently.

The brand was quirky, and its audience was likely interested in mythical subjects like elves, dragons, wizards, that sort of thing.

But nonetheless, it seemed a little gutsy.

I worried if it was too “out there” to work.

My coach responded:

“This is cool sh*t. I think you did a great job with this.”

Phew. First obstacle passed.

Since he’s written tons of email campaigns and generated millions in sales for his clients, I figured I could trust his opinion.

So I finished the project and sent it over to the client.

I filmed a walkthrough video to explain why the hell I thought it was a good idea to feature an elf as a main character in a simple e-commerce email sequence.

She responded.

“These are AMAZING. I’m stoked about every email! No edits needed, we’re good to go.”

To date, it’s the boldest email sequence I’ve written. And I’ve been thinking lately about why it was a good idea.

Here’s what I’ve come up with.

How to Tell a Good Idea from a Bad One

1. Accept that there’s a fine line between “this is a really good idea” and “this is a really sh*tty idea…”

And that line is often blurred.

That’s why I reached out to my coach for feedback. I couldn’t tell if I was onto something or if I was off my rocker.

But that’s the nature of good ideas.

They are new. They are unique. And in many cases, they haven’t been seen before. Because of that, there’s an element of risk to them. An element of uncertainty that makes you think:

“This is going to either go very well…or very badly.”

Think about things like Airbnb and Lyft.

On the surface, both could also be seen as terrible ideas:

“Yes, let’s invite strangers into the most intimate places in our lives. What a great idea!”

(That was sarcasm, by the way.)

Yet they’re services millions of people use every day. So as it turns out, they actually were good ideas.

I’m sure there are a lot of reasons for that, but one of them is this…

2. It’s all about the audience.

Good ideas and bad ideas are all about context. And your audience is your context.

If you’re tired and you’re in your bedroom, lying down and going to sleep is a good idea.

But if you’re tired and you’re driving a car, lying down and going to sleep is a bad idea.

It’s all about the context!

So, who is your audience? What do they know? What do they like?

Will they “get” your idea?

If so, it might be good.

So what does this mean for your marketing?

It’s the same old song and dance:

Good ideas are hard to come by and everything goes back to your audience.

You can never know with 100% certainty whether any marketing idea is going to work or not, but if you truly understand your audience…

You’re off to a good start.

Robert Lucas