Nemo Chu on Brainstorming Marketing Ideas Using “Really Simple Guessing”

This is the second in a series of posts where I’m sharing my notes from the 500 Startups’ Marketing Hell Week series of talks. My company,, was part of batch 19 in Mountain View, and I recently blogged about the experience.

Nemo Chu, formerly at KISSmetrics and Bloomfire, led a workshop on how to brainstorm and prioritise marketing ideas to increase conversion.

We chose one of the batch companies — an event management SaaS company — and split their funnel into four parts:

  1. Top of the funnel — getting people to the website
  2. Signup — getting people to claim an offer by signing up to a webinar
  3. Follow through — getting the people who signed up for the webinar to actually attend
  4. Conversion — getting webinar attendees to become customers
What would these four stages be for your company’s primary funnel?

We then broke up into four teams, with each team tackling one section of the funnel.

Brainstorm Ideas

First, we individually brainstormed for three minutes, writing down stream-of-consciousness ideas as quickly as possible, each on it’s own notecard. Nemo encouraged us not to judge the ideas at this point, but to simply focus on generating as many ideas as possible.

Really Simple Guessing

Once we’d each written down several ideas, we then came together as a team, talked about each card, and then scored it from 1 to 4 using a three-fold rubric:

  1. How few Resources are required? 4 is few.
  2. How Scalable is this idea? 4 is very scalable.
  3. How does our Gut feel about this idea being a home run? 4 is great!

We wrote the score for each of the three questions in three corners of the notecard, and wrote the total score in the bottom left corner. At the end of process, we had a prioritised list of things to do to improve the funnel.

So Resources, Scalability, and Gut — RSG. Playing off that acronym, Nemo coined this process as Really Simple Guessing.

Key Takeaways

Brainstorming and collaboratively scoring ideas using the RSG rubric is a great method to generate ideas for each level of the funnel, and then prioritize them as a team.

Further reading…