Marketing Innovation Must Be Planned And More Ambitious

Many of the CMOs I engage with are adept at dealing with change. Marketers have to be adaptable these days, right? We're all playing in new channels and at different ways of interacting with customers. 

But through my discussions with marketers, I've noticed two things: 1) Most marketing organizations are reacting to, rather than driving, change, and 2) marketers aren't reaching far enough. 

Why do I call marketing reactive? Well, CMOs don't consider themselves change agents, and that's despite rapid changes in consumer behavior and the new possibilities technology offers them. Indeed, marketers see their own company's efforts at marketing innovation as middling, according to our September 2009 Global Marketing Leadership Online Survey (see figure below). I suppose that's to be expected. Marketers have a job to do, business to deliver, budgets to protect, and bosses to satisfy. Innovation isn't often part of their job description . . . but it should be. 

 

 

As a first step to making innovation a more important part of marketing's role, CMOs must define their marketing innovation strategy. I've structured a framework and process for doing just that in my new research.

But in defining marketing innovation, marketers can't stop at "adopting digital,"" dabbling in mobile," or "setting a social strategy." Which brings me to my second observation.  Even if marketers are most at home in testing new media channels, CMOs must use a broader framework to explore innovation. Marketing leaders have got to be more ambitious. 

A marketer's innovation strategy must touch each of marketing's core compenents, or the four P's: product, price, promotion and place. And few go so far today. In the report, I've highlighted some great initiatives where marketers are focusing on at least one of those four P's. But it gets really interesting when two or more of the P's overlap! 

So back out to you: Where are you innovating? Where will you innovate? What ideas have caught your attention? 

Comments

Adaptability

Great points. I have worked with so many small business owners in NY and one thing that stood out, was their ability to adapt, change, and change course, in response to the market and the consumer.

Why Marketers Aren't Innovating

Great post, but I think you're overlooking the reason why marketers are having a hard time innovating.

The bottom-line is that marketers these days must have a degree of technical sophistication that dwarfs what was required even just 5 or 10 years ago, so there is a lot of learning going on that can be very time consuming. That, in combination with the incredibly rapid pace of change being drivin by tech companies, is making it very difficult for marketers to keep up with the curve, much less get ahead of it and innovate.

I think this effect is clearly visible when looking at the market for quality Search Engine Optimization professionals, where you have "kids" (<30 years old) commanding six-figure paychecks simply because no-one else knows how to do what they do or can keep up with Google, MSFT, and Yahoo.

Our organization places a heavy emphasis on technical skills when reviewing marketing professionals, and as more and more companies recognize the imporatnce of this, marketers overall will become more techically sophisticated and eventually have the capacity to start innovating. Until then, we're just playing catchup...