The Seven Principles of Marketing Innovation – It seems like “seven” is the new ten these days, so it was time for me to ride that wave with my “seven” principles needed to drive marketing innovation. I recently shared a key note at this year’s inaugural MarTechConf in Boston on the topic of “Growing Business with Marketing Technology, from Operations to Innovation“. The key message I wanted to share was the unique role that technology and even more importantly “marketing technology” is playing today in driving business growth, creating new business models and inspiring creativity and brand stories. It has dramatically shifted from a commodity to a strategic capability that is needed right upfront in the ideation process along with brand strategy, consumer research and creative in order to define the ultimate consumer experience. In other words it has moved from being an operational tool to driving innovation at the center of every organization.
While the start up community has been boiling the ocean for a while in terms of driving innovation and causing disruption (positive), evident from all the recent multi-billion dollar acquisitions and valuations, the corporate world is slow to respond and still struggling for some very obvious reasons. These seven principles are targeted towards the large corporates who have a strong desire to operate like start ups but need to shed away the traditional “mindset” and “culture”, take a read:
Need I say more? How many times have you been in that room either flying the butterfly or killing the butterfly. I have been on both ends and one of the lessons learned for me has been to “LET” the butterfly “FLY”. I learned this lesson from one of my mentors Clive Sirkin, CMO of Kimberly Clark and perhaps one of the best marketers and brand builders I have met in my life.
For most part of my life I have wondered how these fashion designers ever made money or even more important, who are they designing these clothes for or is it just about showing off “creativity” that did not solve any consumer need. A lot of times technology and innovation can lead to the same result if you become “technology or innovation” obsessed instead of being “consumer obsessed”. At the end of the day, innovation is as simple as solving the unmet and at times even untapped and unidentified consumer need mostly with or at times even without the use of technology. But as we all know, technology can be overwhelming and exciting at the same time and can easily overshadow the real challenge that needs to be solved for the consumer. Be vary of that temptation.
Always ask the question, be that inquisitive kid we all were when we were growing up with the “WHYs” and “WHO SAIDs”, the answer to a lot of those questions will be solutions to many more. Be curious and always ask the question.
Sometimes the decision to continue moving forward could be daunting but a quick look at where you are standing at the very moment could get you going. The disruptive world we operate in today is like a huge pile of cracked ice, the only option leading brands and organizations have is to keep moving forward and adopt change. You have the option to be like the Blockbuster that went from being the category leader to being bankrupt within less than 10 years or you could be a Netflix that came from nowhere to become the category leader because they decided and continued moving forward. It’s a belief in the fact that staying where you are is MORE risky.
I often hear organizations and leaders say they are changing and “accepting” failure but that’s lowering the bar already, leaders need to celebrate failure. In order to drive innovation at a pace at which consumer is moving, brands need to have their failures at par with the successes and this is only possible when you REDEFINE what failure means to you. It is like a card matching game, every card you pick does does not match is NOT a failure but it gets you a step closer to you picking the card that will eventually match — granted you remember the one that did not match. Innovation and failures work the same way, shutting down paths and models that will not work for you quickly and if possible cheaply is as important as eventually finding the path and model that will work for you.
Steve Jobs once said, creativity and innovation is all about connecting the dots. Unfortunately though, we have all grown up living, working and operating on a highly fragmented model where the dots are never connected. But innovation is as simple as killing the silos, connecting the dots and often stitching the isolated solutions to create that ultimate experience that solves consumer needs.
Call them the Unicorns or Pi Shaped Marketers, call them whatever you want but one thing is certain, the traditional T Shaped marketer specializing in one core area is not going to cut it. The consumer’s expectations are soaring high and she has both the choice and the ability to make the choice as and when she wants, for brands and marketers to stay competitive and innovative, they need to become multi-faceted. It is no longer about computer science or business science, it’s only “CONSUMER SCIENCE” which goes beyond the isolated buckets of marketing, technology, creative or strategy, it’s underneath all of that.
Alright, yes I lied in the beginning, actually have the EIGHTH one as well and perhaps the simplest one as well.
This quote says it all and does not need no explanation. I would close by saying that Innovation is not Invention, it could be really simple as long as you try to keep it simple.