Friday, August 12, 2011

Funnel Vision: Marketing Innovation Made Simple

Have you ever wondered where new ideas come from?

It may seem odd, but I believe there are really no new ideas -- only new combinations of old ideas.

The more creatively you assemble new combinations of old ideas, the bigger the breakthroughs you can produce. And this process of searching for material to create new combinations is called Funnel Vision.

Funnel vision is how one man turned cockle burrs, those annoying prickly things that stick to your pants when you walk in the woods, into velcro, a business innovation worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Here are 3 examples of Funnel Vision in business. What marketing lessons can you draw from them?

1. Drive-thru window at a restaurant

First used by In 'n' Out Burger, in 1948.

Where did the idea originate? The City Center Bank, Kansas City, MO, opened the first drive-thru window in 1928.

By borrowing an idea from banking, In 'n' Out Burger produced a breakthrough in fast food. 

2. Chuck E. Cheese's restaurant

Founded by Nolan Bushnell in 1977.

Where did the idea of combining games and food originate? Turns out, Nolan Bushnell founded another company in 1972 -- Atari. So he didn't have far to look for inspiration.

3. Lady Jane's Haircuts for Men

Founded in 2004, Lady Jane's employs attractive female stylists to cut hair, surrounded by sports memorabilia on the walls and ESPN on plasma screen TVs.

I can't prove it -- and this may land me in hot water -- but Lady Jane's is an obvious combination of Great Clips and Hooters.

So here's the point of all this: Stop looking for creative new ideas. Start looking for creative combinations of old ideas. That's Funnel Vision.

It may not be as sexy as pure creative brainstorming, but it can be profitable. And Funnel Vision can produce an endless stream of innovations for you, as it has for many others.

You'll find more ideas like these in my Free Report, Guaranteed Marketing

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