Bad ideas—we’ve all had them. Yet, we can hold on to them, sometimes for longer than we should. These bad ideas can culminate into poor business decisions that waste time and money, as well as potentially lead to longer-term problems.
This can be especially true when it comes to marketing: With so many variables involved in identifying—and reaching—specific audiences, it’s remarkably easy for a company leader to do some research, and then fall for an idea that worked well for a competitor, but will do little, if any, good for their organization.
Communicating this is part of the job, but it can be tricky, especially if the leader feels passionate about the idea. To help, five members of Forbes Agency Council share the best ways to help a business owner who loves an idea that you’re certain just won’t work. Here’s what they had to say:
1. ‘Yes, And’ Approach
We like to use the approach of “Yes, and …” where we acknowledge what they are interested in and we propose something that shows an event greater potential return on investment. We don’t like to be combative, but we do like to show additional paths that have performed better in the past and why they may be a better approach to take moving forward. – Aaron Agius, Louder.Online
2. A/B Testing
I’m personally a big fan of A/B testing. There’s always room for improvement. If a client is married to an idea, we’ll often test it against ours to see which performs best at reaching the conversion. Nothing convinces a client like real data. – Janet Driscoll Miller, Marketing Mojo
3. Gathering Perspective
First, take a breath and think about why the client is convinced their idea is a sure winner. Gathering perspectives from stakeholders can often lead to surprises and open a line of thinking that was not previously understood. That process will make it clear to what extent you will advocate further for your point of view, or yield to client thinking. – Bill Hanifin, Hanifin Loyalty LLC
4. Poke Holes In The Design
Sometimes a client just won’t let go of a bad idea. In these instances, we often create a quick mockup of what their idea would look like, then poke holes in it by showing them (visually) what’s wrong with the design. This is often enough to persuade them to trust our guidance and puts us back in the driver’s seat. – Seth Geoffrion, Vrrb Interactive
5. Honesty And Communication
When a client is gung-ho about a bad idea, you have to be honest with them and communicate amiably and effectively. I would say something like, “I’ve been marketing a successful business and helping clients market their businesses for over 20 years, and I would be doing you a disservice if I wasn’t honest with you about this. I don’t think this approach will get you the results you want and need.” – Joy Gendusa, PostcardMania