Fancy restaurants often include a small dish of fruit sorbet between courses, so that patrons can "cleanse their palates" prior to tasting the next course.
I recommend cleansing the mental palate when you're returning to a marketing problem that you haven't been able to solve with long and hard thinking.
That's one of the important functions of the Checkmate Matrix. Rather than downloading the same old tired perceptions over and over again, the Matrix forces you to look at the competitive landscape with new eyes.
I'll explain how this works in a second, but if you haven't yet downloaded the Matrix and filled it out for an important keyword, please take a moment and do it now:
Why the Matrix Works
Our only tool for business improvement is our own mind. While that may sound obvious, we rarely take seriously the implications of that statement. We keep doing the same old things with our body/brain, hoping for new and better results. To find business breakthroughs, we have to start using our brains in new and better ways.
The Checkmate Matrix actually shifts our brain from our usual perceptual state of analysis into one of observation of detail. Here's why that's so useful when we're stuck (for example, trying to improve our AdWords CTR when it's been stuck at 2.76% for almost 18 months):
The Four Perceptual States
There are four basic perceptual states that ordinary human beings can access pretty much any time we want. Each has advantages in different situations, and until we learn about them and practice shifting in and out of them at will, we tend to get stuck in one default state and try to get it to see things it's simply not able to see.
I know that sounds really theoretical and vague, so let's make it practical by talking about the first and most primal perceptual state: Tactical / Serpent
State #1: Tactical / Serpent
When you see the world through tactical eyes, you're looking at the immediate details of your environment. Without analysis. Without judgment. Just seeing what exists, and looking for your opportunity to seek pleasure and avoid pain.
You can think of this level of consciousness as the level of the serpent. It's housed in the oldest part of the human brain, the one we have in common with reptiles. Serpents glide along the ground, seeing just the facts before them, looking for opportunities – and when they see one, they strike quickly and without hesitation.
When we are in tactical/serpent consciousness, we are simply gathering information without judgment or analysis, looking for a point of advantage. The Checkmate method intentionally puts us into serpent brain first by having us complete the Checkmate Matrix. We look at our competitors' ads and simply notice what is and isn't there.
From this level of perception, we immediately begin to see opportunities for our own ads that we've never thought of before. Huge gaping holes in the market magically appear to us – opportunities to strike boldly with new ads, new features, new benefits, new calls to action, etc.
Tactical/serpent is a great place to start if you tend to over-analyze and fret and strategize, and you find you're stuck without a new creative idea in the world.
The Matrix Cleanses the Palate of Your Brain
Serpent consciousness is like a "reset" button for your brain, allowing you to stop dancing with your mental construct of reality (that is probably a work of fiction of your own creation), and re-engage with the raw facts of your world and business landscape.
Once you gain this granular awareness of what truly exists, you can begin to deploy the other states of perception to find ways to engage creatively and generatively in the world.
OK, this email is long enough for now. Play with the Checkmate Matrix, play with seeing your world through serpent eyes, and see what new insights come to you unforced and unbidden.
Oh, and if you want to experience all this for yourself in Chicago in June, check out www.CampCheckmate.com before all the seats are gone.
Wishing you health, happiness and prosperity, Howie