When we have great ideas, we naturally gravitate to opinions that support their validity. But in a post at his blog, Dave Fleet says it's just as important to identify where our thinking may be flawed or underdeveloped. In other words, every marketing team needs a devil's advocate.

To explain the contrarian's purpose, Fleet cites three reasons proposed by Kyle Flaherty of the Engage in PR blog:

  • To determine whether you really believe what you just said.
  • To introduce another line of thinking that ultimately will shape your thinking.
  • To determine whether I really believe what you just said.

"It's not a role to play for the sake of it," says Fleet, "it's a vital part of team dynamics."

Without someone to question an idea from the contrary point of view, you run the risk of undesirable outcomes like the implementation of half-baked strategies, or straying entirely off course. "Sometimes we have good ideas which don't fit the strategy," he explains. "It's important to identify those cases."

The Po!nt: A devil's advocate should offer feedback that is honest and constructive. "Asking tough questions won't always make you popular," says Fleet, "but nonetheless I think it's an important role for every team to fill."

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