Here is an example of extreme product innovation I’ve witnessed recently. I met with the President of a struggling technology company. She is betting the company’s future on developing products that have not been validated nor tested with any customers. You could call them “extreme product innovators.” In other words, they are developing products that may pay off in 4-6 years in a market they have never pursued.
Meanwhile, their legacy products (which keep the lights on) currently face severe price pressures and market share erosion. Additionally, they have no plan (insurance) to create mid-term growth programs (which would create revenues in 18-36 months). Their Chief Technology Officer gets free rein to keep experimenting—even through profits are fleeting, investors are restless, and revenues are anemic.
Investing further in marketing innovation—which might include new promotions, online campaigns, account-based marketing, events, and testing new markets—remains a lower priority than “extreme product innovation” in this case. Yet medium term marketing experiments could help them bridge the gap between the short-term horizon (legacy) products and the long-term experiments. McKinsey & Company introduced this strategic framework here. I believe every marketing leader and CEO needs to incorporate this time-based view into every strategy conversation.
Sometimes the best mid-term innovation bet isn’t a product. It’s your marketing.
I recently sat down with TESSCO Technologies’ Liz Robinson and Bill Moten to explore this topic further. I’ll be a featured expert speaker at their upcoming TESSCO One Innovation Showcase in Phoenix on February 23-24.
In this 10 minute podcast, we had a lively discussion around the rapid changes happening within TESSCO’s manufacturing partner ecosystem, and where marketing innovation plays a pivotal role. These partner dynamics include retail channel consolidation, price pressures, and new players in the decision-making process.
I’ll rustle some feathers here: too many leaders, especially in the technology field, find the “Field of Dreams” strategy very seductive. This is when the development teams believe that if they build something cool, the customers will come. This belief stifles marketing innovation and plans and has a deleterious impact on short-term and medium-term revenue streams.
In addition to ignoring medium term innovation time horizons, organizations often confuse marketing innovation with product innovation. To clarify, we define marketing innovation as applying creativity to design a new and improved future for customers and stakeholders. This is essential to any growth plan. Marketing strategy, sales strategy, and creating the ideal customer solution are hidden treasures that TESSCO understands and invests in regularly.
Contact me for the 10-minute TESSCO innovation podcast. And be sure your insurance policies remain updated and intact. You owe it to your dependents and stakeholders.
Now enjoy these posts:
- The CMO’s Perspective on Innovation: The Spiral Marketing Podcast
- 9 Emerging Marketing Trends in 2016
- Danger or Opportunity? Marketing Lessons Learned from the Sharing Economy
Copyright 2016, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.