Finding the Unicorn

Finding the Unicorn

When I was in school, I was really good at taking tests. At one point, I even joined an academic team that took tests competitively against other schools. I liked the challenge of figuring out the single correct answer to a question.

Nowadays, it seems like the only tests I’m good at involve some obscure pop culture trivia. But that need to find the one right answer has stuck with me. I actually think it’s engrained in most of us.

This is where the search for the unicorn begins.

Marketing is a complicated mix of tactics, strategy and goals. And success in marketing is like trying to hit a moving target. Yet, most of us feel like there’s one correct answer we’re supposed to choose.

Sometimes, we think the correct solution is the one that everyone can agree on. Design feedback, in this case, tends to sound like an imposible-to-solve word problem:

“Bob hates purple. My friend from Tucson says it looks like a basketball. George and Terry love it. Jake thinks it should be more masculine and Christine thinks it should be purple.”

Or, we want to know every possible option before choosing an answer:

“How do I know if the cherry scone is the best unless I try the blueberry scone and the chocolate scone, too?”

The search for the unicorn, or the perfect marketing solution, can lead you down a confusing and sometimes exhausting path.

It sounds counterintuitive, but approaching marketing strategy with “better” in mind, instead of “best,” often leads to more focused, measurable solutions.

If we’re looking for better, we can write language that makes it easy to understand what our company does and why, instead of trying to find the single, perfect sentence that encompasses everything we do.

If we’re looking for better, we can think of ways to increase sales among our target audience, instead of trying to create packaging that everyone in the world will want to buy.

If we’re looking for better, we can create videos that are viewed and shared more often by our social media followers, instead of trying to make something “go viral.”

When we look for better options instead of the single, best option, we’re setting attainable goals. It’s about making decisions about what you want to improve (and why), and then thinking of ways to accomplish that.

In marketing, we need to look for better solutions instead of the best solution because, like unicorns, there’s often no such thing as the single, correct answer.

I may not be able to find you a unicorn, but I’m pretty sure I can find you a better horse.

Beth Bennett

Beth Bennett

Beth Porter joined Atomicdust as a design intern in 2011 and has been designing here ever since. Beth grew up on a farm not too far from Southern Illinois University, where she earned a BFA in communication design and took home the university’s prestigious Rickert-Ziebold Trust Award her senior year.

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