A simple visual marketing exercise

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Photo on 3-11-13 at 7.27 AM

As you read recently, Facebook and Google+ both changed their layouts to encourage more use of the visual medium. For many marketers, this is a challenge to our brains, especially our word brains that don’t necessarily think visually. So here’s an exercise that will get you thinking more along the lines of how to create visual content.

First, find a series of quotes about your industry, niche, vertical, or topic. Sites like BrainyQuote or GoodReads can help you find these, or just search Google for “quotes about (insert your topic here)”. Make a list in a spreadsheet or other easily accessible document of 10 of your favorites. For example, here’s a list on the topics of marketing and advertising:

  • “Advertising is legalized lying.” ― H.G. Wells
  • “Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing but nobody else does.” ― Steuart Henderson Britt, Marketing Management and Administrative Action
  • “The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.” ― David Ogilvy
  • “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” – Peter Drucker
  • “Business has only two functions” – marketing and innovation.” – Milan Kundera
  • “I notice increasing reluctance on the part of marketing executives to use judgment; they are coming to rely too much on research, and they use it as a drunkard uses a lamp post for support, rather than for illumination.” – David Ogilvy
  • “In marketing you must choose between boredom, shouting and seduction. Which do you want?” – Roy H. Williams
  • “Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department.” – David Packard
  • “Don’t blame the marketing department. The buck stops with the chief executive.” – John D. Rockefeller
  • “In marketing I’ve seen only one strategy that can’t miss” – and that is to market to your best customers first, your best prospects second and the rest of the world last.” – John Romero

Now here’s the exercise. Pick one quote per day and walk around with your digital camera or smartphone camera and look for the opportunity to take a picture that relates to the quote of the day. For example, in one of the Ogilvy quotes, he mentions a lamp post. A logical photo to take would be outside, of a lamp post. Harder would be something like the Roy Williams quote. How would you take a photo of something representing boredom, shouting, or seduction?

Once you have taken your own photo, use the meme generator of your choice to superimpose the quote on top of the photo, and you’ve got a shareable piece of visual content for the social networks that demand it.

By the way, using stock photo sites or Flickr is cheating. The point of the exercise isn’t to see how fast you can Google an image, it’s to get your brain and eyes to awaken to the world around you and to start looking for visual opportunities in your everyday life. That’s the point of the exercise.

Try it!

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One response to “A simple visual marketing exercise”

  1. Guillermo Saavedra Avatar
    Guillermo Saavedra


    Yes, it’s a great tip for getting creative! But in most cases I would recommend to follow the example of TV. “Don’t say what you are broadcasting” to avoid becoming repetitive. For example, don’t show a lamp if you are talking about a lamp, but instead try to portrait the concept of the phrase.

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