Even the best marketing departments face a common obstacle: burn out. It can become challenging at times to find inspiration for that next email marketing campaign. Yet, despite what we may think, burn out isn’t some sudden onset of inspiration failure. Burn out is a slow process that comes from more than just overworking yourself or failing to project plan. It also comes from monotony.

The truth is, there’s only so much room for creativity in the day to day marketing. The bulk of marketing is about running a well-oiled machine. Things are a process and you’re jumping from client to client, project to project. This is where the monotony sets in. We don’t have the advantage of leisurely dreaming up creating concepts for campaigns – whether they’re our clients or our own. But there are some things you can do.

Create a Roulette

Create a list of things you can go down to rotate topics. For example, not every email campaign needs to be about the same two or three things. Instead, break it down so you can really dig deep and focus on one or two things per campaign. The goal of email marketing campaigns is to ultimately rally your audience around a certain sale, promotion or landing page. The more you stuff your email campaign, the more diluted the action will be.

So instead of cramming, focus. You can opt for various choices including doing a profile, a feature, a review, a success story, a look behind-the-scenes, or more. Look at your business and your audience and see which of these best fits with what you’re offering. Now that you have a list, you can rotate topics which allow you to focus your efforts.

The next time you’re creating a campaign, you won’t be spreading yourself thin thinking of ideas. Instead, you’ll know the theme is “x” or “y” and you can then channel your focus to find a fitting topic within that theme.

This is also a lean strategy because a bulk of any meeting or strategy session gets wasted in the “what.” In other words, “what are we doing” or “what are we going to talk about.” Having a topic roulette is a great way to get on to the business of creating, instead of investing too much time in the business of planning.

Develop a Series

This is a particularly excellent idea if you have to job of creating multiple individual campaigns or creating a complex campaign that covers 4 or more topic per campaign. How you develop your series is really up to you. The series can follow one customer, one product, one campaign or one team member through the entire month, quarter or year. A series is great because it’s part of the roulette idea, and it gives you something you can automatically fill in each month. The challenge is keeping in mind the end goal. Here it’s unlikely to be in regard to a sale and more about a brand narrative.

Even breaking a monotony from a process is ultimately about a process. You’re setting up a process that creates a smaller pocket, for a finite pool of creative thought that allows you to really focus your energy. Instead of reaching into the air for a creative idea each month, you’ve got a more focused approach to liven up your email marketing campaigns.

My favorite way to break out of monotony is to always stay well-read in the industry and think about how we can connect the dots. It’s an idea that Einstein came up with: you don’t need to reinvent the wheel but that genius is really about pairing ideas in a new way.