The Crucial Role of Marketing in Innovation

There is a common misconception that innovation and marketing are two separate concepts when it comes to business. However, if you analyze it, you will see how successful game-changing technologies have used marketing to promote their product and create customer trust. Innovation is the initial idea—it’s the backbone of your entire business culture. Marketing, on the other hand, helps your business take off. Great examples include Google’s AdSense and Nike’s Nike+. Both pushed the boundaries of their industry and both were able to sell to a wide consumer base.

In today’s world, however, the Harvard Business Review has pointed out that the role of marketing has taken a backseat. Many companies only use marketing to acquire and retain customers, when it can be used for so much more. For one, it should be used to define priorities based on strategies. Marketing can also be used to creatively communicate the benefits and features of an innovative idea.

Most business leaders also fail to see the essential aspects of marketing, which include identifying the right customers and target market, developing the entire go-to-market, and understanding consumer’s fundamental needs and drivers. All of which are crucial to the success of innovations and breakthroughs.

Take the Google Glass, for example, Google launched it as a beta product in 2012, thinking the innovative new tech would sell itself. However, when it did come to market, Media Post notes that the team behind it neglected to understand Google Glass’s target customer, nor were they able to define why people would need it in the first place. The market outright rejected it when it was launched. The team behind it focused more on the idealistic vision of the product and they took for granted the market research necessary to figure out two of the most essential questions that need to be answered: who is the Google Glass for and what customer needs is it trying to fulfill?

Apart from making sure you are in tune with what your customers need and want, marketing must be used to build brand trust. Ayima warns that if a brand doesn’t generate instant trust with the customer then “your bubble is probably going to burst soon.” They pointed out how health and safety issues over the restaurant brand Chipotle resulted in a big hit on their sales. Marketing experts are right in saying you can spend lots of money on marketing tactics, but without customer trust, it will be almost impossible for the product to survive. Even if you are Google.

To do this, it’s important to learn what your customers need and what difference your product will make to their lives. You also need to be true to your claims—overpromising is a common mistake.

Business.com notes that video marketing is one of the best ways to showcase your innovations. Its intimacy makes it uniquely suited to building trust, as it’s an effective way to reach out to your audience and tell your brand’s story. What experts call “cornerstone” videos can help you introduce your brand’s identity, voice, mission, and goals. Brand trust also impacts how your customers receive your innovations—when people don’t have any idea about your product or service, brand trust built through effective marketing can help pave the way for loyalty in the future. You also need to trust your own customers. On Innovation Observer, we talked about how important it is to make sure your product and marketing strategies are customer-centered. Listening to your consumers, and trusting them, benefits your business more than you think.

About Eugene Ivanov

Eugene Ivanov is a PMI-certified Innovation Management Consultant who helps organizations increase the efficiency of their internal and external innovation programs.
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