The Best Ideas Can Come From The Most Unexpected Places

We are now in the sixth month of the global pandemic and it does not seem to be going away or improving anytime soon. With travel coming to a screeching halt – as well as events, meeting with clients, meeting with co-workers, and even going into the office – life has been completely altered for the foreseeable future. One of the largest impacts is the toll on relationship-building and maintaining a connection with those that interact with your brand one way or another.

Everyone has turned to the virtual life (better known as Zoom), whether it is for events, social activity, or just to say hello to a family member. Virtual is all we hear about now and it appears that this will be the new normal for quite some time.

With human interaction changing so drastically, how can we figure out the next big idea as marketers? What else can we do to stay ahead of the game? Perhaps we need to look in an unexpected place to find where to take that next step in our business planning.

When coming up with new ideas, we all talk to our stakeholders. What if we identified a group of stakeholders that are often overlooked? Often times, when things get tough, it is common to try to generate new ideas based off what the big client would want or what the VP of Strategy is looking for to generate new revenue. Perhaps it is time to look in an unpredicted place to try and find the next big thing.

What employees are rarely talked to or sought out for feedback? What clients might be overlooked when it comes to thinking strategically? Who does not typically have a say in decision-making elements of your company?

Here are three overlooked stakeholders you should consider talking to as they may be able to provide insight on what that “game changing” idea could be:

Client Relations Teams

An obvious choice might be going directly to your VPs or Directors. However, it is sometimes more beneficial to try other places. Try going to the people “on the ground.” The Client Relations Teams are a group of people that are often left out of strategy conversations, but they are alos who communicate with your clients on sometimes a daily basis. Sure, sales teams should have an inside scoop, but the client relations team members that works with your clients daily know more about your clients than anyone – and might have an innovate idea that others would not be able to identify. It is almost like taking the pulse of a mini focus group.

This internal group of people may also have ideas on how to be more efficient. Taking a deep dive with your teams can pay off in terms of gaining the insights needed to understanding your audience.

SMB Accounts

Everyone in this group has a set of small to middle sized accounts. How often do you talk with them strategically? Set up a time to meet or even see if you can get a half-day meeting to brainstorm new ideas. Send them an Uber Eats or Grubhub gift card to cover their lunch and hunker down. Ask questions to find out if their initiatives have changed – is spending going to a different bucket come 2021? Have they identified areas to expand into? Be as bold and ask something big. “If money wasn’t an obstacle, what kind of marketing campaign would you want to do with us?” The answer could lead to the next big idea!

Audience (Re-Check)

Your audience seems like an obvious place to check in, but there are a lot of new current events affecting the lives of audiences members with COVID. Right now, it is important to re-engage with your audience and find out what they are doing day in and day out. What does a day in the life of a reader look like during a global pandemic? Are they consuming information differently now vs. before the pandemic? Do they want something that is not on a computer screen— such as a print magazine? That might be too bold (or is it?), but there is only one way to find out.

Speaking to your audience can show you not only what you are doing right, but how you can improve on the areas you have not identified or are not doing as well in.


This is a perfect opportunity to identify what you, as a company and as a brand, are doing right or wrong with stakeholders you do not normally speak to. Everyone is shifting to virtual events. How can you stand out? What can you do differently that no one else is doing and that will be the game changer for your brand?

Now is the time to be brutally honest with yourself and your stakeholders. Everyone is going through a tough time (well, maybe not Zoom), but do not try to hide it. Get in front of it.

For some inspirational, out-of-the-box stories to find a great idea in an unexpected place, check out this Huffington Posts article.