Jim and chocolate factory


I’ve ALWAYS loved stories.

Ever since I was old enough to read, I’ve had my nose in a book (although admittedly opportunity has waned somewhat with the arrival of children!).

So it’s rather gratifying to see my oldest child follow in my footsteps – Jim loves stories even more than I do.

Each night, Grace and I take it in turns to read Harry Potter with him, and over the last year, we’ve gone on a highlights tour of all the stories we loved as children – Just William, The Twits, Enid Blyton, the list goes on.

He’s lapped all of these up, immersing himself in the characters, the plots, the story arcs, and asking question after question about them.

When he’s not reading, he’s writing and illustrating his own stories.

I say “own stories”, but a plagiarism lawyer would have a field day.

We’ve had “Jim and the Chocolate Factory”, “Jim and the Chamber of Secrets”, and… well you get the drift.

Armed with the narratives and plots that have captivated him so much, he’s replicated them, replacing or misspelling the odd word here and there to fool the publishers.

Now clearly this isn’t the path to literary success (although he’s still only 7, so I’ll cut him some slack), but the principle is very much relevant to creating successful marketing.

Because if something works, why not take inspiration from it?

I’m not advocating you copying your competitor (or any other business for that matter), but when there’s potential inspiration all around you, it’d be madness to operate in a silo, uninfluenced by what’s working elsewhere.

So, two questions for you to mull on:

1. What do the successful businesses in your sector do to get customers? Can you study it, understand why it works, and what principles you can take from it?

(Obviously you won’t always know if it’s successful, but a decent clue is that they’ve been running the same marketing for a long time)

2. (Perhaps more interestingly) What marketing is working in other sectors, and has it been tried in yours?

Get good answers to these questions, and you’ll put yourself in a great position to create marketing that works, without having to reinvent the wheel.

Right, I’m off to proofread Jim’s Adventures in Wonderland. Wish me luck…

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