In marketing, there are few original ideas. Every designer or writer gets inspiration from somewhere. According to the author of Ditch the Dusty Widget every small business owner should adopt this strategy when it comes to developing their own marketing material. She suggests:
In your “Best Practices” hard file, you should collect those types of marketing tools that spark ideas for how to market your own business, or that simply grab your attention and strike you as really well done. Even if the advertisement is for a furniture store and you sell fishing gear, keep the ad if it contains imagery, style elements, a unique offer or some other clever marketing technique that you could re-purpose for your own needs.
In addition to hard copy, I recommend collecting websites as well. I have a document where i post links to sites I consider worth saving. Maybe they have a cool layout, fun headline, or maybe the site is just a great resource for inspiration and new ideas.
Save the good and the bad… whether you are going to do the creative work yourself, or turn the project over to a professional firm, knowing what you like and what you don’t like on the front end will make the process much smoother, with the end result something you are really happy with.