Seinfeld on Marketing: Limitations and working backwards

It’s time for another weekly installment of Seinfeld on Marketing. In this episode, Kramer is talking to Jerry:

KRAMER: [Reading the newspaper] Look at this. They are redoing the Cloud Club.

JERRY: Oh, that restaurant on top of the Chrysler building? Yeah, that’s a good idea.

KRAMER: Of course it’s a good idea – it’s my idea. I conceived this whole project two years ago.

JERRY: Which part? The renovating the restaurant you don’t own part or spending the two hundred million you don’t have part?

KRAMER: You see I come up with these things, I know they’re gold, but nothing happens. You know why?

JERRY: No resources, no skill, no talent, no ability, no brains…

KRAMER: (interrupting) No, no time! It’s all this meaningless time. Laundry, grocery, shopping, coming in here talking to you. Do you have any idea how much time I waste in this apartment?

JERRY: I can ball park it.

Kramer, dawning his newfound perspective, once again thought he had a great idea – stopping maritime oils spills with the creation of an oil bladder system for oil tankers. But despite Kramer’s best efforts and even recruiting an intern from NYU to help work on his bladder system, Kramer’s plan fails due to limited “resources.”

In a very small way, we all have a little Kramer in us – you have great ideas but not enough resources to fully develop that killer app, get past using a template for your marketing plan, gain the optimal experience for that perfect job or move your project beyond a mere idea. Don’t worry — there is help.

One of the best ways to gain productivity and maximize your limited resources is to work backwards on your project. Imagine for a moment that you have unlimited time, money, talent or any other resource that you think that is holding your back. Now think back to your project. With these unlimited resources on your side, imagine the ideal outcome for your project. Create a vivid, mental image of the best-case scenario.

Now, work backwards. Think of the final step needed just prior to realizing the final, optimized outcome. Now, think of the step prior to this step. Keep going until you have the project broken out into smaller, bite-sized steps. Don’t worry at this point if things seem unrealistic or unpractical. The idea is to remove project paralysis due to our own limits. If you think big, your outcome will be 10 times better (or more) than if you start your project the traditional way, from the beginning and along the way tossing in all the reasons why it won’t work.

Go on, give it a try!

Happy Friday everyone.

This post is part of a weekly series, Seinfeld on Marketing.

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