And for me, that's the first rule of successful marketing.
The Oxford dictionary defines curiosity as "A strong desire to know or learn something" - and that's the only way the modern marketer can stay ahead of the game. We need to be curious about technology, trends, customers, human behaviour, psychology. Only with this constant need to understand how people work, and how our marketing activities work (or don't, as the case may be!), will we be able to create truly successful campaigns. Only by being curious will we be truly innovative, come up with new ideas to convey the same message, promote the same products and services.
But what is is about those new ideas that makes them work? Well, it goes without saying that everyone at Maker Faire thrived on creativity. The second rule of successful marketing.
You'll hear this word thrown around marketing, advertising and design meetings on a daily basis - "we need to be creative"; "let's get the creative juices flowing"; but I think Dave Trott said it best when he said that a blind belief in technology has stopped people from actually thinking. He talks about marketing jargon, and how people always tell him "that's dinosaur thinking". Then he says "I reckon if you put a dinosaur in a field of sheep, the dinosaur f*&/ing wins!" (As an aside, I saw Dave Trott give a talk on creativity at an event last year - he is a legend, and if you get a chance you should watch this session).
It's true that good marketing involves being creative - but that doesn't mean constantly thinking of brand new, original, complicated ideas or campaigns. Sometimes it means taking something you've used before and reinventing it... like upcycling old furniture. And sometimes it's the simplest ideas that are the most effective. And I think that's what Dave Trott is getting at. Today, people are all focused on the execution of an idea... about how good it LOOKS. But if we all spent more time thinking, more time coming up with great ideas, we'd find something that WORKS. That's true creativity.
So how do you reach the holy grail of a creative idea? Google "be more creative" and you'll find thousands of articles telling you to take walks, get fresh air, or have a messy desk (here's one from the Chartered Management Institute as an example). But I have another suggestion.
I think the key to creativity is found in third rule of successful marketing. My final takeaway from Maker Faire. The key to creativity is strength in community.
With the advent of social media, marketers talk about community all the time - about using social media platforms to have two-way conversations. But the makers take it to the next level - and we should too. Without being competitive and hiding our best ideas in case someone steals them, we should foster a culture of shared experience, shared thinking - because by being part of a community, through curiosity about other peoples' projects, the most creative ideas are formed.