Jan 22 2014, 9:15am CST | by Forbes
Is it more critical to run an innovative company, or to have a team of marketing ninjas that get your name out there?
The answer is simple: neither. Instead, think of marketing and innovation like a pair of gears that work together to move your entrepreneurial success engine forward. Ideally, innovation works itself into the entirety of your business culture, and as a result it moves itself out into your marketing strategy.
In fact, this integrated approach has enabled many of the game-changing technologies we take for granted: think Google AdSense, the Toyota Prius, and even the wildly successful RPG, “World of Warcraft.” To name another example, when Nike launched Nike+ (a mobile app that works as a motivator/personal trainer), the product wasn’t developed by a single employee brainstorming in a cubicle. It was a collaborative effort between their marketing and creative departments that helped bring a brilliant idea to market.
The point is, there needs to be a strong connection between innovation and marketing.
The Growth Factor
The definition of modern-day marketing involves any activity that gets and keeps customers. This is different from the traditional view that marketing is specific to advertising or sales. Marketing extends to influence customer service and what’s required for the company to continue creating an advantage and benefit for the consumer.
The Growth Factor answers the question: “What can I do today to provide my clients with a greater advantage or benefit, to get them closer to the ultimate result they desire?”
This is a question best answered through a collaboration with both the marketing and innovation team. The marketing team is on the front lines of what’s working, what’s not and what’s needed, while the innovation team is on the inside providing ideas and possible solutions.
Google answered The Growth Factor question with the recent acquisition of Nest, a provider of digital smoke alarms and thermostats. Based on Google’s mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” Nest was a logical and innovative response to provide users with a greater advantage.
Develop a Minimum Viable Product
If you build it, they “may” come – at least with a little nudge from your marketing department, who spent time ensuring the product already has a proven, demonstrated and desired component with your ideal prospects. Unfortunately, many businesses get stuck thinking that customers “will” come to new innovations and jump right in head first with a full-fledged rollout.
Sure, you’ve come up with and developed a brilliant idea, but a good idea alone does not bring customers.
Before outlaying too much cash, the best approach is to develop your minimum viable product (MVP), take it to market, and build a ecosystem between the innovators, marketers and customers around further development and incremental innovation based on your prospects’ reactions.
Innovators and marketers must collaborate to bring this to market to test, tweak and refine the product based on feedback and response. The moment the product is identified as having a probably chance of success, a wider rollout is important.
Cultivate an Innovation Culture
Regardless of how small your business is, neither innovation nor marketing should be ignored. Furthermore, as Apple has proven time and again, real innovation is about incremental gains — not world-changing discoveries. Get your MVP into the market quickly and start generating sales.
Every business needs innovation, just as much as it requires marketing. The goal of innovation in business is to give customers the best possible products, services and experiences — which makes marketing a much simpler task.
Charles Gaudet’s controversial marketing insight has earned him the title of “The Entrepreneur’s Marketing Champion” by both his clients and Insiders’ for his ability to help them out-compete, out-market and out-earn their competition. As the founder of PredictableProfits.com, he’s an expert at helping entrepreneurs radically improve their profits through a series of effective marketing strategies.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Source: Forbes Business
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