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Validating From Within. Finding New Ideas That Work

By Sander Biehn | Mar 15, 2016

The coolest new ideas are often the ones we just stumble upon.  They pop up while trying to solve problems that bog us down.

When it comes to finding new ways to tackle old problems it is not always easy. Search the web all you want, everything seems so homogenized.  This is especially true in the world of marketing and sales.  One Marketing Automation platform looks much like the others.  Companies seem to be in a race for the middle ground with social media tools, training and strategy.  According to an article by Jeff Dyer and Nathan Furr from 2015 in Entrepreneur Magazine, innovators need to innovate and customers need to validate whether it is valuable. Could it be that we can take on both roles by solving our own problems with new ideas?

I have a friend who loves the story of how Basecamp was invented back in 2012. A group of project managers working on a web development project needed a better way to manage their work. They built the tool internally to solve the problems they faced. Later they turned it loose on the world. It instantly became a very successful product.

We’ve seen the same thing happen with our customers. In the process of solving an internal problem, a new product is born. I wondered if this principle was at work at Thought Horizon. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Customized algorithms for posting content at the ideal time. We were wasting time posting at all hours until we started identifying the specific times we were getting engagement. The answer wasn’t straight-forward. It depended on the type of post and the subject. We figured out how to determine what post would do best when. This gave us a huge advantage with our social media.  Recently, we even squeaked into the top 50 social selling brands.  We are now consulting with clients on how to do the same.
  2. Paid promotion on social media. Again, we were using trial and error with our paid promotions when patterns started to emerge. We were sick and tired of paying top dollar and missing our target market. The patterns we saw helped us crack the code. Those same patterns are now helping our customers to get it right.
  3. Blogs. Blogs can be expensive and time-consuming to create–especially if you want them to make an impact using social selling and your sales team. We knew we needed to blog regularly to stay relevant in social media. In order to keep a quality feed and have time to do our client work we came up with a blog creation tool that has enabled us to be consistent bloggers without losing our edge.
  4. Sales training. We train all our new employees on how to use social selling. The feedback we get from those sessions is incorporated into the social selling training we offer for clients. Our training rarely fails to deliver when we train sales teams on the topic of social selling. Why? Because it is constantly being improved upon with what we are learning.

It may seem trivial, but looking internally to create and validate new products for your market is better than trying to figure out what your customers need and building it.  Solve those vexing problems at home. You may be on your way to the next big thing.