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Managing the Marketing of Innovation

By assessing and leveraging new marketing opportunities, concepts and research to better influence the outcomes of new product innovations, your innovation team will be better prepared for a successful launch into the market. This includes the implementation of product design or packaging, product placement or promotion and pricing. By speaking the same language, and interacting more effectively with the marketing and strategy professionals in your own firm, it will lead to nothing getting lost in translation during one of the most challenging times of a product or brand launch.

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To achieve success, companies must put as much energy and investment into the marketing phase as they do the innovation phase of their projects. These strategies should make an impact regardless of the type of marketing innovation, whether it be radical, disruptive or incremental and whether an entirely new market must be created for the product being developed. Ultimately, an emphasis on marketing can also reduce the risk of launching a new product, which of course, can thereby reduce the risk of failure.

As Denise Lee Yohn eloquently puts it in an article in the Harvard Business Review, “Why Great Innovation Needs Great Marketing”: “But marketing is and should not be executed merely through tactical functions of acquiring and retaining customers, as many companies practice it today. The search, content, and loyalty campaigns that most managers call marketing these days are common downstream tactics for generating or maintaining awareness or repeat purchase. The full, business-growing power of the marketing function comes way upstream — from creating markets. Understanding people’s fundamental needs and drivers, identifying customers, and developing the entire go-to-market and usage ecosystem are the essential aspects of marketing — and the ones that the success of innovations, especially breakthrough ones, hinge upon. Marketers need to be included in development discussions earlier in the innovation process.”

Beyond the Bubble

As the community’s recent Innovation Spend & Trends Report indicated, innovation teams are not working in a bubble, or at least not as much as they used to. Are the days of working in a “silo” gone forever? As the All Things Innovation’s recent blog post explored, “Putting Together Your Innovation Team,” moving forward for agile organizations there is a much greater emphasis on cross-collaboration with other teams and departments in the company. From marketing and finance, to research and insights, to technology and IT services, innovation teams are expected to integrate, co-create and align with the business and its strategies on a broader level.

The approach to innovation talent has also evolved in this new globalized work world. While common themes have emerged, different organizations have chosen distinct paths. In this recent Innovation Talent Roundtable, the innovation community shared several thoughts on the search for innovation talent and fostering a culture of innovation.

Marketing Matters

A marketing specialist can play a crucial role in benefiting a new product innovation in several ways. We asked ChatGPT to outline a few advantages that marketing can offer. Overall, a marketing specialist brings valuable expertise and strategic thinking to the table, ensuring that the new product innovation is effectively positioned, promoted, and adopted by the target market.

  1. Market Research: A marketing specialist can conduct thorough market research to identify the target audience, assess market demand, and understand the competitive landscape. This helps in shaping the product’s features, positioning, and pricing strategy.
  2. Positioning and Branding: The specialist can develop a compelling brand positioning for the new product, identifying its unique selling propositions and creating a distinct brand identity. This helps differentiate the product from competitors and appeals to the target market.
  3. Targeted Marketing Strategy: By understanding the target audience’s preferences, behavior, and demographics, the marketing specialist can create a targeted marketing strategy. This includes selecting appropriate marketing channels and developing effective messaging to reach and engage potential customers.
  4. Product Launch Planning: The specialist can create a comprehensive launch plan, including setting goals, defining key performance indicators (KPIs), and determining the marketing mix. They can coordinate with cross-functional teams to ensure a successful product launch, including coordinating advertising, promotions, public relations, and sales efforts.
  5. Customer Acquisition and Conversion: Through effective marketing campaigns, the specialist can drive customer acquisition by generating awareness and interest in the new product. They can create compelling content, leverage social media platforms, optimize search engine visibility, and employ other marketing techniques to convert prospects into customers.
  6. Feedback and Iteration: The marketing specialist can gather feedback from customers and monitor market response to the new product. This feedback helps in identifying areas of improvement, refining marketing strategies, and making necessary adjustments to the product features or positioning.
  7. Competitive Analysis: The specialist can keep a close eye on competitors and monitor their marketing strategies, pricing, and product positioning. This helps identify opportunities and challenges, enabling the development of effective counter strategies to maintain a competitive advantage.
  8. Sales Support: The marketing specialist can collaborate with the sales team to develop sales collateral, training materials, and presentations that highlight the product’s unique features and benefits. This empowers the sales team to effectively communicate the value proposition to potential customers.

Marketing Matters

Today’s advanced innovations are not necessarily enough by themselves to drive a purchase or to generate enough interest to create a market. It’s only by identifying unmet needs, engaging with customers, developing the customer experience ecosystem and other key tactics under the marketing wing can an innovation take flight.

Yohn writes, “Innovation alone may be enough to initiate the adoption life cycle, but marketing remains the bridge necessary to cross the chasm between early adopters to the wider group of people who will form a viable, valuable customer base.” Whether you succeed or fail, marketing matters.

Video courtesy of Salesforce

Contributor

  • Matt Kramer

    Matthew Kramer is the Digital Editor for All Things Insights & All Things Innovation. He has over 20 years of experience working in publishing and media companies, on a variety of business-to-business publications, websites and trade shows.

 
 

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