Mind mapping is the technique of visually mapping out
thought processes or ideas. The technique is popular for brainstorming, problem
solving, planning and note taking, and is a great way to clearly share the
creative processes. But is it really the best technique for marketing? I've
weighed up the pros and cons of mind mapping for the modern marketer.
Often when we take notes or start to plan something, we just
throw all our thoughts down on paper and then have to organise them at a later
point. In note taking, this can mean deciphering notes that once made sense in
the hurry of jotting them down, but later are confusing and often points get
Mind mapping simply allows the later process of linking the
notes together to be done efficiently at the time of note taking, meaning when
you come back to your notes later, they are already organised into an understandable
order, and each bit of information is easily located, as well as it being clear
where that outcome came from or what it is the origin of.
A Universally Understandable Process
We all have our own unique ways of sharing our thought
processes on paper, and often when it comes to planning as part of a team, it
can lead to confusion among the group. Mind mapping is a clear way of mapping
out the planning process in a way that is universally understandable, so when
sharing a process with others or when planning as part of a team, it can be
used to create a plan where the various steps of the process are clearly
visible and understandable to all that view it.
Whatever the reason for using mind mapping, it is always the
most efficient process. In note taking, you can simply jot key words and
phrases that can be linked to the next rather than having jot down line after
line and later having to decipher and write up them up. Mind mapping allows you
to look back and see the associations made, resulting in easily understandable
references that don’t need to be written up before you can take anything useful
from them. Relying more on keywords in
not taking can reduce the amount of unnecessary annotations by around 90%, and
can speed up your note taking by up to 10 times your current speed.
Our minds find it much easier to scan in a non-linear
fashion, which is why mind maps spread out across the page in all directions,
with the links between key areas represented visually by lines to help our mind
make those connections. It would be much more difficult to scan pages of
scribbled notes and get the same overview at a glance as, even when we
underline keywords and phrases or highlight things for emphasis; our mind still
lags due to the excess information it has to process.
Because of the academic emphasis on less creative methods of
planning and note taking, when we first start to use mind maps we can sometimes
find it difficult to adjust to the change. Therefore, if using mind mapping to
note take during meetings and conferences, it is best to get some practice in
beforehand to prevent your brain from lagging behind and missing vital
information while you try to work out this new process.
Keywords and links are great if you have enough basic
knowledge on the topic at hand to make those associations. But if the topic is
completely new to you, then a lack of information on the page can lead to a
mind map being ineffective. If presenting a planning process to someone who is
less inclined to understand the more complex ins and outs, be sure to make the
process more clear, adding in extra steps that you personally may not need to
understand it, but that will aid in the universal understanding of the plan.
Because mind maps can take you anywhere, often space can be
a major limitation. When you are able to, use a large A3 or bigger piece of
paper for the initial mind map if creating one by hand, or use a free mind
mapping software online that will automatically create space as you go.
Mind mapping, even with the cons considered, is still one of
the most useful and creative ways to visually note take and create marketing
plans, as it gives you a universally understandable reference point for
personal use or for all those involved, and gets the creative juices flowing
during the planning process.
Labels: digital marketing, making a plan, marketing planning, marketing strategy, mind mapping, social media