Innovation can take the guess work out of marketing.
Why marketing leaders must rethink their culture
When I started my career many years ago, marketing seemed to be much simpler, most things I tried worked. But times have changed. Business life seems to be more hectic and sometimes chaos seems to have become the norm.
But just because the world around us is in disarray, doesn’t mean your marketing has to be too. So what should you do? Well, luckily there are more opportunities for marketing innovation available to us if we devote time resources to it.
According to a recent Forrester survey, only 11% of marketers set aside a specific budget for marketing innovation efforts and only 9% make marketing innovation a part of every budget, Yet 95% of these marketers agreed that they are achieving a positive return on their investment from their innovation programs.
While the Forester survey focused on corporations and bigger businesses there is no doubt that most small businesses, non-profit organisations and communities are struggling because of a lack of marketing innovation, particularly in regional, rural and remote areas.
Not all innovation leading to revenue growth is equal. Some revenue growth creates more enterprise value than others. Revenue growth that comes from increasing market share for a product does not create much long-term value because competitors can easily erode market share. Revenue growth driven by increasing prices of certain products comes at the expense of the customer, who can hit back by buying less and seeking substitute products.
Marketing innovation should target revenue growth driven by products that create new markets, attract new customers, and convince customers to buy more. This is the most valuable type of revenue growth and where innovation can benefit you the most.
Why the disconnect with innovation?
Mastering marketing innovation has become more complex due to the ever-changing customer landscape caused by digital disruption, perpetually connected customers and shifting customer expectations.
This can be overcome by having a marketing innovation plan and an innovation program that is consistently addressing customer problems, frustrations wants and needs.
Trying to be constantly innovating can be frustrating and even boring, and many simply don’t enjoy doing it. We always seem to have better things to do with our time. If you don’t plan your innovation properly you won’t pick the right things to be doing.
That means you won’t profit from innovation, which means continuing to struggle to make ends meet and you have to drag yourself out of bed to go to work. And working 50+ hours a week is probably not what you want to do.
Without innovation, you can forget about holidays and have more quality family time and you will continue the daily grind. If you want to stay at home and have time with your family then you should have that option not having to spend all day at the office doing mind numbing work you couldn’t care less about.
If you want to take a regular break then it should be possible without worrying about how the business will perform and how you’ll afford it. Sadly most people don’t have that option and it’s about time to change that with a plan for marketing innovation to provide more profitable growth in less time.
Innovation helps combat competitive forces
In every industry, competitors are taking advantage of new technology platforms and tools to undercut competitors, get closer to customers and disrupt the traditional way of doing business.
In order to keep up, the only way to compete is to evolve by planning your marketing innovation and creating an innovation-driven culture. Understanding the four marketing innovation cultures is a good place to start.
Risk-averse. Where innovation only takes place when forced.
Pragmatist This culture tends to be conservative and consensus driven, which makes it slow to react to changes.
Experiment. This culture is highly focused on innovation to drive differentiation around customer experience but can lack a longer-term strategy.
Customer-obsessed These organisations are defined by their obsession with the problems, frustrations, wants and needs of their customers and build a culture that is both rare and inherently innovative.
“In today’s competitive marketing environment it’s critical to be relevant and add value to your customers which are difficult to sustain without innovation”. Peter Sergeant
What’s next after you have identified your approach to innovation?
The best innovators don’t target where their customers are today but where they will be in the future. With customer technology adoption moving faster than ever before, marketing innovation must accelerate in order to keep up with a disrupted, fragmented ecosystem.
- Establish a dedicated marketing innovation budget.
- Make the business case for innovation and securing support.
- Use partnerships to enhance your marketing innovation efforts.
- Involve customers and leverage customer insight and foresight.
- Encourage all stakeholders to become involved in marketing innovation.
- Hold your team accountable.
Start today and make an effort to notice at least one little problem that you would normally become frustrated with and simply look for an innovative solution. Experience, in this little way, the feeling of being in control of the way you approach your marketing innovation in the future.
Realise that you can extend this same level of control to every situation you encounter in your organisation and in your life.
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As you become more and more deeply rooted in marketing innovation, the chaotic thoughts start disappearing. You are thinking, but your mind is empty of senseless mind-traffic as opportunities unfold.
When you start innovation on purpose, I know you will have many moments of enlightenment. The moments where you become, perhaps for the first time, an unconditional, sane and, truly innovative organisation.
At almost any given moment, the way you feel is the way you choose to feel, and the way you react is the way you choose to react. So today, let this be your reminder to put all your struggles and any negativity behind you. Move into the future consciously and with confidence.
When you think better, you live better. But, as I’m sure you’re aware, that’s sometimes much easier said than done, but with a positive marketing innovation plan, anything is possible. Improving your marketing innovation takes planning, guidance and practice. It’s time to take control of your future and have the day to day freedom you deserve.