I didn't go to school for this. At least, it wasn’t my degree. But as my professional studies and experience in marketing have expanded, I've realized my time at the Clemson School of Architecture was far from wasted.
Two particular strategic approaches instilled there carried over beautifully:
1) Flip it upside down.
In Architecture, that literally meant pick up the volumetric shape you’ve been crafting, invert it and set it back down - wrong side up. Then, try to learn something you hadn't noticed before.
In Marketing, it means second-guess your assumptions. So your consumer definitely wants X and always needs Y? Periodically lay that certainty aside. First find, then look and think from, the polar opposite viewpoint. Buyer? Become a seller. Passionate? Role-play apathy. You may be surprised what insights you're missing.
2) Every touchpoint is an opportunity.
In Architecture, on presentation days, professors would provocatively tear off portions of student work and sling them to the floor. "Irrelevant," they'd mutter. This meant your overarching concept needed to more distinctly affect that element. Otherwise, it probably needed to be eliminated completely.
In Marketing, your brand is only as strong as you push it. Inventory your web of external communications (don’t worry, everyone else’s is just as tangled), and rethink elements that don't jive with your organization’s driving attributes. Bear in mind, it's rarely just your print ads and Christmas cards that need a fresh look. Your automated service reply emails, staff LinkedIn pages, and office lobby count too.
Once you’re finished and feeling really certain about things, flip it sideways.