How to Be Creative When You’re Not Creative | Ep. #658

In episode #658, Eric and Neil discuss how you can be creative when you are not a creative-minded person. Tune in to hear where you can find inspiration.


  • [00:27] Today’s Topic: How to Be Creative When You’re Not Creative
  • [00:34] At a retreat in Cabo San Lucas, Eric met a man who makes commercials for companies like Burger King.
  • [00:50] His tip about creativity was zig when everyone else zags.
  • [01:15] If a customer requests something, see if turning their approach on its head would be more effective.
  • [01:50] If everyone is moving away from Snapchat, you should go towards it.
  • [02:05] See what your competition is doing and see if you can build on what they are doing or flip their ideas.
  • [02:32] Blogs and podcasts are more popular than ever.
  • [02:49] Listen to Growth Everywhere and use the strategies that others have used to grow their businesses.
  • [03:04] Take creative ideas that worked for others and run experiments using these techniques.
  • [03:24] If an approach is working for someone else, see if it will work for you and figure out how you can build upon it.
  • [03:45] Everything is an iteration of something else.
  • [04:13] Draw creativity from your surroundings.
  • [04:28] Remember to learn continuously!
  • [05:00] Mastermind groups, marketing conferences, diving into people’s numbers will help you gain insight into what works.
  • [05:35] Nathan Rabka had a guest on his show and the guest made up numbers about their growth.
  • [05:57] Everyone lies and be careful to spot the misleading information.
  • [05:58] That’s all for today!
  • [06:00] Go to for a special marketing tool giveaway!

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The post How to Be Creative When You’re Not Creative | Ep. #658 appeared first on Marketing School Podcast.

Full Transcript of The Episode

Speaker 1: Get ready for your daily dose of marketing strategies and tactics from entrepreneurs with the guile and experience to help you find success in any marketing capacity. You're listening to Marketing School with your instructors Neil Patel and Eric Siu.

Eric Siu: Welcome to another episode of Marketing School. I'm Eric Siu.

Neil Patel: And I'm Neil Patel.

Eric Siu: And today we're going to talk about how to be creative when you're not creative. I was thinking of this topic because recently I was at a retreat in Cabo and one of the guys in the group, he does commercials for companies like Burger King, for example. He's very creative, extremely creative. In fact, he's so creative that his entire office is creative. It's just like, how does this guy think, why is he so consistent all the time? And I thought his tip was amazing. You know, we did a short presentation. I really want to put this in front of you guys too. So the way he is creative is, he basically zigs when other people zag. So, let's say a client goes to him and they're like, "Hey, I want to do a video this way and I want to start it this way." And he's like, "Well, you know, why don't we end it the way you wanted to start." And the client's mind is completely blown.
So, basically, you're just going in the opposite direction. So, if someone says I want to do it this way, you might say, "Why don't we do it that way instead?" Or, "Most people are going to do it this way, I'm going to do it that way instead." You can literally do the same thing in your marketing or you're just trying to come up with new topic ideas. Right? So, if most people are ... even us just talking about right now, you've got to start a podcast. Well, you might be like, "Okay, well, maybe I don't want to do audio, maybe I want to do it a different way. Maybe I just want to do video instead." That's going in the opposite direction. Or everyone's jumping on Instagram right now. They're saying Snapchat is completely useless. Well, guess what? That means, you know, a lot of people, like Gary [inaudible 00:01:48] mentioned that he's jumping more toward Snapchat cause everyone's going away from it right now. So doing something opposite sometimes, can actually lead to your creative juices really flowing.

Neil Patel: If you're not that creative, just start looking at people within similar spaces and see what they're doing. Not just your competition, cause what works for your competition won't always work for you. Sometimes they have more money, they were earlier a doctor. You have to look to what other people are doing.
A good example of this is, Dropbox grew from a referral program. Once Dropbox started growing really fast to a referral program, a lot of other people started implementing referral programs and these businesses weren't storage based businesses. But they took the growth concepts that worked for other people and implemented them within their business.
The cool part about today's world is, blogs are more popular than ever. Even podcasts. You can go online, read articles of just other people, see what they're doing. People always like releasing case studies. Learn from them and start implementing some of these strategies to your business. Or you can listen to podcasts like Eric's Growth Everywhere podcast, where he interviews, you know, 300 plus business owners. Find out the creative strategies they use to really grow and see if some of those concepts apply, and run experimentation.
We've talked about experimentation in the past. You can take some of these creative ideas and try to roll out one a week. And by the doing that, eventually you'll find creative ideas that work for other people to also work for your business.

Eric Siu: Actually, it brings up a really good point. What's worked really well in the past for me has always been copying. Like looking at what other people are doing, drawing inspiration, and then just copying. And then, seeing also at the same time, if they have something that's going really well, how can you iterate on it to actually to improve on it? Because then, at that point, you're no longer copying, you're basically improving upon something.
And, if you look at everything in your life, and Neil and I are in this podcast studio in New York right now, everything is just literally iteration. Right? This TV in front of us, it's flat screen right now. Well, these TVs used to be these giant boxes. The same thing with this Mac monitor that I'm looking at right now, iPads before were these giant gigantuan, like palm pilots, for example. The phone we're looking at used to be this giant brick, right? Everything is an iteration, you're copying. Look at inspiration around you.
And, the thing is this, if you're trying to be creative, like what Neil just talked about, you should be out there actively learning from podcasts, blog posts all the time. Because, if you're not actively growing, learning, well, at the end of the day you're dying. How are you going to be able to draw creativity? You don't just draw creativity from being a recluse. Although, I do think there is an argument to be made for, you know, every now and then, maybe spend a couple of weeks, maybe a month or so, just disconnecting and then just recharging, and that way, drawing new creative ideas. But, oftentimes, you're out there, you're actively learning. Whether its you're speaking somewhere, or you're learning from somebody else that's speaking at a conference, I think its really important to have that muscle continuing to go.

Neil Patel: Yeah, and with creativity, if you go to events, you go to networking, you talk to people, they show you their stats. When you get really nitty gritty, not just reading articles, but when you network with people and you find out what's exactly working for them, the stats, the process they use, how they iterated things, its much more effective to then take those concepts and implement them into your business.
It's a bit harder to get there but groups like Mastermind or things like War Room, which is an event for a lot of marketers, things like going to marketing conferences, networking with people drinking some beers, and really diving into people's numbers. Cause these days, everyone has Smart phones where they can show you their data, their insights. They have Google Analytics on there. And when you see the real data, that really gives you more emphasis or more conviction that, hey, this is going to work. Or this has a really good shot of working, so I'm going to test this out.
Don't just take people's word from it. I know I mentioned reading blogs, or listening to podcasts. Some people lie. For example, I was listening to a podcast interview with Nathan Latka. He gets ready numbers from a lot of people. With Nathan's podcast, I forgot which founder it was, but he was talking about his revenue, how they grew, how many customers they had. And I did the simple math and I'm like, wait, this isn't adding up. So, just because people are stating something about their revenue or their numbers, or what's causing their growth, it doesn't really mean its as good as what they're saying.

Eric Siu: All right. So that's it for today. But, before we go, go to to check out marketing tools that will grow your business, and we'll see you tomorrow.

Speaker 1: This session of Marketing School has come to a close. Be sure to subscribe for more daily marketing strategies and tactics to help you find the success you've always dreamed of. And don't forget to rate and review, so we can continue to bring you the best daily content possible. We'll see you in class tomorrow right here on Marketing School.

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