By: Chuck Frey
By understanding from the beginning that your marketing message to prospective customers must be just as innovative from their perspective as your products, services and business processes, you will be on the road to connecting innovation and marketing effectively.
Innovation is an often mentioned and little understood aspect for most businesses. Conversely, most people inherently know what marketing is and why it’s important. But how do you as the leader of your company leverage both and connect the dots between innovation and marketing?
What is innovation, anyway? At the core, innovation means finding creative new opportunities for profitable growth in your business. It may mean developing new products, new technology or unique intellectual property. Innovation can also mean finding innovative ways of solving problems for your customers, delivering new services that add value to the products your company produces, developing more unique and efficient processes to run your business or exploring different ways to find new customers in new or existing markets.
At the end of the day, most existing businesses were developed around an innovation of some sort. The dilemma is that many companies have stopped innovating during the course of running their business and dealing with the complexities of maintaining their current businesses.
These days, most U.S.-based manufacturers have been impacted by the downturn in the global economy that is affecting everything they do and the customers and markets they serve. Many companies are evaluating their current businesses and considering what they can do to develop new products or related services, find new customers, make their operations more efficient and deliver new value to their customers. This is the heart of the rationale for developing an innovation strategy to grow or sustain any business and be more profitable.
So what about marketing? Marketing is focused upon telling your company’s story in a compelling enough way to support the sales of products and services and to find new customers. A company’s “message” is at the core of telling this story. Traditionally, many of us have been trained that marketing is really about the Five P’s: Product, Positioning, Place, Price and Promotion. The theory is that all marketing takes is a little theory practiced and applied, and that soon you will find that it comes naturally. A simple view is that marketing is more than sales and it has traditionally been the set of activities used to:
- Get your potential customer’s attention
- Motivate them to buy
- Get them to actually buy
- Get them to buy again (and again…)
What has changed about developing a marketing strategy today – with the emergence of the internet and the ability for most customers to quickly find options to your products or services? Today the key to an effective marketing strategy is less emphasis on the traditional approaches and more focus on actually communicating your unique message about your products and services to existing and new customers.
Consider the principles developed by Doug Hall at Eureka Ranch, an innovation and marketing company located in Cincinnati, Ohio. His view is that marketing has changed and the focus these days should be on the “Three Laws of Marketing Physics,” which are from the perspective of customers:
- Overt benefit (What’s in it for me?)
- Dramatic difference (Why should I care?)
- Reason to believe (Why should I believe you?)
Connecting the dots between innovation and marketing: By understanding that your marketing message to prospective customers must be just as innovative from their perspective as your products, services and business processes, you will be on the road to connecting innovation and marketing effectively.
From the beginning, ask yourself and your colleagues how any new idea or concept answer these three laws of marketing physics, and you will make the right decisions on which ones to pursue and dedicate resources to them in order to grow profitably.