Why innovation and marketing should go hand in hand

Innovation and Marketing mean very different things, with professionals specialising in each discipline and separate departments within the same organisation each claiming their own side. This week OTB looks at why in fact innovation and marketing should go hand in hand.

Innovation is frequently voted as one of the most popular buzzwords in business, yet often it is difficult to highlight exactly how innovation is beneficial to an organisation or what innovation means for a strategy. Is innovation new technology? If my organisation innovates will I have to take more risks? Should we spend more money on innovation or marketing? These are the questions frequently asked in regard to innovation, with industries feeling they should innovate but not necessarily understanding how this can fit with their current strategy, not supersede it.

Yet here at OTB we believe that innovation and marketing are in fact perfect partners, and should be seen as a symbiotic relationship that, if used to its full potential, can bring fantastic results for an organisation or brand. In an interesting article about balancing innovation and marketing in business, Forbes Magazineargues that ‘ideally, innovation works itself into the entirety of your business culture, and as a result it moves itself out into your marketing strategy.’ Forbes claims that this is integrated approach is in fact how a number of highly successful companies came to be where they are today, including Google and Nike who utilised the combined strength of their innovation and marketing teams to generate new ideas and products.

Marketing Week confirms this view that innovation and marketing are integral to one another, claiming that new research shows that growth and innovation are the two biggest concerns for marketers today. In interviewing three senior experts from P&G, AB InBev and Greene King, Marketing Week argues that although the exact innovation strategies of a company can vary immensely, keeping a clear focus to counterbalance the risks involved is crucial. They point out that although an element of risk is unavoidable in innovation, ‘the key is to innovate in a way that adds incremental value to your business and your category.’ By tying this closely to marketing strategy, whether through brand image, insight generation or enhancing the customer experience, innovation can become a positive and measurable element of wider business strategy.

The Harvard Business Review shares these sentiments in its article ‘Innovation is Marketing’s job, too’. Written by Chief Marketing Officer of GE Beth Comstock, Beth highlights how her main objective in her new role was to make marketing the centre of organic growth for the company, and in doing so focused her marketing strategy on supporting and fuelling the culture of innovation which prospered at GE. By conducting research in new areas in order to build consumer bases, selling the story of an innovation in order to increase market share and encouraging the marketing team to question preconceived ideas and ask others for new ones, Comstock believes she found an integrated approach to bringing together innovation and marketing.

Did you know that here at OTB we work in both marketing and innovation? You can even read our books, Making Waves and Think!, take a look here.

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