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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  June 29, 2017

Why Your Big Idea Didn’t Get Traction

Have you ever sat back and asked yourself, “How did I get here?” This inner conversation usually begins when we realize that idea we were so crazy about didn’t pan out as expected. We wrote the book, hired a publicist, redid our website and—got way too many “free” opportunities to make the financials work.

After hearing the story and doing some digging, here’s what I tell people who call me: This didn’t happen due to lack of effort. You worked hard and had great intentions.

With permission, let me take a short trip to the dark side to explain why the movement failed to launch. It usually goes something like this:

• Yes, this new positioning sounds great because it resonated with your heart. You thought, “Hey, that’s me!” and that recognition led to love at first sight. Unfortunately, this is how confirmation bias takes hold. You assume that because you love it, the marketplace will, too.


Listen: 2 things to stop and think about before falling in love with a great idea


• With rose-colored glasses firmly on, you hired folks who love your enthusiasm and commitment. The problem: Everyone thought the train had left the station. So, your team focused on the mechanics to implement your big idea.

• Because your colleagues are implementing the same tactics, such as using social media and writing a book, your idea got lost in the shuffle. The wording was clever enough to get kudos, but the idea wasn’t positioned well enough to stand out in a sea of good ideas.

It’s easy to fall in love with aspirational ideas and clever wordplay. Alas, that isn’t enough. We also have to pay attention to what the marketplace will respond to. And the good news: We have that, too. We just have to uncover our buried gold.


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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.