Another Way to Kill Creativity

I promote Camp Checkmate as a way to "Checkmate Your Competition."

To get more clicks, more leads, more sales, more profit.

That's what people want out of their AdWords campaigns, after all.

But in order to achieve those goals, we have to do something counter-intuitive and maybe even a bit shocking:

We forget about them for 90% of the time at Camp Checkmate.

Why Focusing on Extrinsic Rewards is Counterproductive

In Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink reveals one of the most robust – and least respected – findings from social science research:

The bigger the carrot (or the sharper the stick), the less well people perform complex tasks that require creativity.

In study after study, big rewards (or the threat of big penalties) hampered performance of complicated tasks.

And if you look up "complicated task requiring huge amounts of creativity" in the dictionary, you see a picture of yourself trying to market your business.

Narrow Focus is the Enemy of Creativity

When we are consciously motivated by the money we'll make if we get it right, we narrow our focus. We look for the straight path to success. We miss lateral opportunities.

And as marketers, thinking about our needs is the exact mindset that prevents us from thinking about – and thinking like – our ideal customers.

Camp Checkmate is One Big Bait and Switch

So even though you signed up for Camp Checkmate Chicago June 10-11 (you have signed up, right ;) because you want to increase your business, that's not the focus of the middle 90% of Camp Checkmate.

We start there, by looking at the competitive landscape (for about 15 minutes) and consciously looking for ways to outmaneuver and outsmart our competitors. We do that to get our subconscious minds oriented toward the ultimate goal.

And we end there, when we return from the land of creativity and breakthrough and divergent thinking during the last hour of Camp Checkmate. We harvest the fruit of our creative output and plan to deploy it in the days and weeks ahead.

But in the middle, we leave the ultimate goal at the door, and concentrate instead on creative curiosity and playful expression.

Because that's the mindset that produces the truly profitable breakthroughs.

Today's the last day for Early Bird pricing. Sign up by midnight tonight and save $800 off the full tuition.

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  1. #1 • Gemma Laming said on July 1 2011:

    Howie, once I get going, I will join you! But my skills are WAY below where I need to be if your strategies are to mean anything positive in my advertising life.

    For the moment I am going to content myself with learning the way I do, slowly and steadily. That is how I got this far after all, and for that matter, got here!

    For my target customers, I have more than 35% staying on my website for more than a minute and navigating it too* – that is not bad for a newbie, plus my copy still needs refining. (*13% under 30s; 25% under 5 mins; 12% stayed longer but had forgotten to switch off the tab ;-)

    Many of the people visiting and bouncing are from the British media where I join in comment forums and the like – they account for a lot of my bouncers.