John Q. Harrington is back today with a warning for digital marketers to not walk past the big idea in pursuit of big promises from applications devoid of creative thinking and big idea potential. Here’s Q!

Creative Thinking: What Digital Marketers Could Learn from the Wizard of Oz by @JohnQCreative

John-Q-HarringtonToday’s marketers have awoken and found themselves transplanted into a strange and marvelous world - a Digital Land of Oz.

Here the miraculous has become common and the common seems to have vanished.

Social media creates meaningful relationships with masses of individuals. Social analytics track the source of a trend or a problem to a single person. Big Data gives sales pitches to customers before they even realize they want something.

The wonders of the great and powerful Digital Oz keep growing and growing, but there is one voice of warning rising amid all the pyrotechnics:


Contrary to what many of the Wizards of Digital Oz say, they are NOT all knowing and all powerful. Digital Oz clearly has created some marketing marvels, but there is one thing it cannot create - a big idea.  And big ideas seem to have all but disappeared behind the glare of the flash and dazzle of the latest digital marketing tools.

Yes, I said it.  Digital is a tool, NOT an idea.

Too many marketers are so enamored with the amazing feats of Digital they think the need for a big idea or a great position has been eliminated.  If anything, the need is greater than ever!

A decade ago, marketers only had a dozen or so arrows in their quiver. Newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, basic web sites, email, direct mail and a handful of other tactics were all they really had to work with then.  With digital, today there are well over a hundred marketing tool options and more coming online daily.

Each of these tools has a different set of strengths, weaknesses, and people guiding them.  Firing all these weapons and hoping for the best does get results.

But think how much more powerful they would be if they all had a common focus and big idea driving them!

A big idea or a great position is a virtual brain that can help guide ALL your marketing tools and multiply their effectiveness.

So please, do not become so seduced by the amazing tools of Digital Oz that you think they ARE the same thing as a big idea. Remember this?

"I'd unravel every riddle, for any individual
In trouble or in pain.
With the thoughts I'd be thinking,
I could be another Lincoln
If I only had a brain." -  The Scarecrow

See, even the least intelligent resident of Oz knew he was nothing without a brain. – Q

      (Affiliate Link)

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the free Brainzooming blog email updates.

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative thinking and ideas! For an organizational innovation success boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us at or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.