Linear thinking is a structured, analytical approach to problem-solving that involves breaking down complex problems into smaller, more manageable parts. In the world of marketing, sales, branding, design, and advertising, linear thinking can help you streamline your creative process, optimize your campaigns, and ultimately drive business results.
Here are some ideas to leverage Linear Thinking:
1. Develop a Brand Persona
A brand persona is a character or personality that represents a brand. To leverage linear thinking, creators should define the persona’s traits and characteristics in a structured way, using data and research. The persona should reflect the brand’s values, mission, and target audience. Creators should use the persona to guide all aspects of their branding, from messaging and visual design to customer interactions and marketing campaigns.
Example: Apple’s brand persona is sleek, innovative, and minimalist. This is reflected in their product design, marketing campaigns, and customer interactions.
2. Develop a User Persona
User persona is a fictional representation of a brand’s ideal customer, based on data and research. To leverage linear thinking, you can create buyer personas that guide your marketing efforts and ensure that you’re targeting the right audience. By breaking down your customer data into clear segments, you can create personas that represent your ideal customer and tailor your marketing strategies accordingly.
Example: Airbnb’s user persona includes characteristics such as adventurous, social, and tech-savvy. These elements align with the brand’s values of community, innovation, and hospitality.
3. Create a Sales Funnel
A sales funnel is a linear process that guides potential customers from initial awareness to a final purchase decision. To leverage linear thinking, creators should map out the various stages of the funnel and develop specific strategies for each stage. For example, at the awareness stage, the goal may be to capture attention through eye-catching ads or social media posts. At the consideration stage, creators may provide more detailed information about their products or services to help customers make informed decisions. At the decision stage, creators may use persuasive techniques such as limited-time offers or social proof to encourage customers to make a purchase.
Example: Amazon’s sales funnel starts with product discovery through search results, product recommendations or advertising. Then they offer product details, pricing and product reviews which lead to the “Add to Cart” button. Finally, Amazon nudges users to checkout through personalized and targeted emails and notifications.
4. Use Data to make Informed Business Decisions
Linear thinking can help you use data to inform your decisions and optimize your marketing or design campaigns. By collecting and analyzing data, you can identify patterns and trends, test and refine your strategies, and make data-driven decisions that improve your results.
Example: Let’s say you’re optimizing a landing page for a lead generation campaign. A linear thinking approach would involve collecting and analyzing data on key metrics such as bounce rate, time on page, and conversion rate. You could then use this data to identify areas for improvement, test different variations of your landing page, and make data-driven decisions that improve your results.
5. Develop a Customer Journey Map
A customer journey map is a visual representation of a customer’s experience with a brand, from initial awareness to post-purchase support. To leverage linear thinking, creators should break down the customer journey into smaller, manageable stages and identify pain points and opportunities for improvement. This will help them create a seamless and positive customer experience.
Example: Nike’s customer journey map includes stages such as product discovery, product customization, and post-purchase support. They use data and customer feedback to identify pain points and opportunities for improvement at each stage.
6. Create a Content Calendar
A content calendar is a schedule that outlines the type of content to be created, the platforms to be used, and the publishing dates. To leverage linear thinking, creators should break down the content calendar into smaller, manageable tasks and ensure that each piece of content aligns with the overall marketing strategy. This will help them create a consistent and cohesive content strategy.
Example: HubSpot’s content calendar includes types of content such as blog posts, social media updates, and email newsletters. They use the calendar to plan content that aligns with their marketing objectives and the needs of their target audience.
Here are three more cognitive biases that are similar to linear thinking,
Framing Effect: The framing effect is the way in which the context in which information is presented can impact our interpretation of it. This bias can lead us to make decisions based on the way information is presented, rather than on the information itself, and can limit our ability to think creatively or consider alternative viewpoints.
Status Quo Bias: The status quo bias is the tendency to prefer things to remain the same rather than change. This bias can limit our ability to think creatively or consider alternative solutions, as we may be more likely to stick with what we are familiar with rather than exploring new options.
Hindsight Bias: The hindsight bias is the tendency to believe, after an event has occurred, that we knew it was going to happen all along. This bias can limit our ability to think critically about our decisions and actions, as we may overestimate our ability to predict outcomes based on our previous experiences.
“The Benefits of Linear Thinking in Marketing” by Ross Simmonds on Foundation Inc. – https://foundationinc.co/lab/linear-thinking-in-marketing/
“Using Linear Thinking to Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy” by Rachel Foster on Content Marketing Institute – https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2017/11/linear-thinking-content-marketing/
“Why Linear Thinking Is Crucial to Your Brand’s Success” by Mike Templeman on Entrepreneur – https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/315659
“The Power of Framing: How to Use It to Influence Others” by Michael C. Mankins and Maryam S. Quraeshi on Harvard Business Review – https://hbr.org/2020/01/the-power-of-framing-how-to-use-it-to-influence-others
“The Power of Framing: Using the Art of Language to Build Your Brand” by Joanne Tombrakos on Inc. – https://www.inc.com/joanne-tombrakos/the-power-of-framing-using-the-art-of-language-to-build-your-brand.html
“The Framing Effect in Advertising: How to Use It and Avoid It” by Kaitlyn Hammond on MarketingProfs – https://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2017/32123/the-framing-effect-in-advertising-how-to-use-it-and-avoid-it
“How to Use Status Quo Bias to Influence Consumer Behavior” by Jonah Berger on Social Media Today – https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/how-to-use-status-quo-bias-to-influence-consumer-behavior/564844/
“The Power of the Status Quo: Using Status Quo Bias in Marketing” by Aidan Hijleh on Business2Community – https://www.business2community.com/marketing/the-power-of-the-status-quo-using-status-quo-bias-in-marketing-02339192
“Overcoming Status Quo Bias in Product Design” by Liz Steblay on UX Magazine – https://uxmag.com/articles/overcoming-status-quo-bias-in-product-design
“Using Hindsight Bias to Improve Your Marketing Strategy” by Kathryn Aragon on Crazy Egg – https://www.crazyegg.com/blog/using-hindsight-bias-to-improve-your-marketing-strategy/
“Hindsight Bias in Advertising: How to Use It and Avoid It” by Kaitlyn Hammond on MarketingProfs – https://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2017/32110/hindsight-bias-in-advertising-how-to-use-it-and-avoid-it
“Hindsight Bias in Design: How to Overcome and Benefit from It” by Nick Babich on Adobe XD Ideas – https://xd.adobe.com/ideas/principles/design-principles/hindsight-bias-in-design-how-to-overcome-and-benefit-from-it/