Marketing Innovation in the Digital Age is a Group Effort

At the start of the twenty first century the innovation buzz has become deafening with companies scrambling to stay ahead of the curve. As Beth Comstock, the former vice chair of General Electric said:

“Marketing’s job is never done. It’s about perpetual motion. We must continue to innovate every day.”

With innovation being the core of many new management styles, for the results-driven marketer one question still remains; what are the concrete tools to build our revolutionary marketing innovations?

As with many things, we are lucky we live in the twenty first century. Apart from being blessed with the innovation buzzword, we are also blessed with numerous tools to address the associated innovation risks and increase our success rate from 9% to 90%. They are often about connecting the right people to the right problems.

We are seeing this with Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding, Open Innovation (both ingoing and outgoing), Open Access, Open Source, and many more Innovation Tools. In the marketing world, these tools have been at the center of many high profile success and failure stories.

For example, when the World Wildlife Fund wanted to leverage the masses to catapult its 10th Earth Hour initiative in 2017, it asked people to produce engaging and emotional films about the movement, #changeclimatechange. The campaign catalyzed those passionate about the cause and proved to be a powerful platform for large sections of their supporters to be heard by a global audience.

It was their most successful campaign ever.

In a similar vein, companies like Chevrolet have launched their own crowdsourcing campaigns, to galvanize their loyal support. To make this possible, Chevrolet built a site to allow people to make their own ads for the Chevrolet Tahoe by using video scenes provided by the auto manufacturer.

The crowd promptly replied with ads featuring messages like: “Our planet’s oil is almost gone, you don’t need G.P.S. to see where this road leads.” The ridiculing of Chevrolet quickly spread on social media and became a major brand issue for the company. The risky side of innovation had reared its vicious head.

It was probably one of their least successful campaigns ever.

For many companies the low-lying fruit has already been picked. This means that marketing innovations are becoming more complex and difficult to exploit with greater risks. So what can we do? The easiest thing to do is to avoid the mistakes of others and leverage best practices with the best tools which are currently available.

Marketing Innovation is About Risk

However, being innovative is about taking risk and managing that risk well. So we should learn from others, the problem you are solving has been solved elsewhere, and use their proven tools. Examples of this include:

  1. Try and crowdsource a solution to your problem if you have an engaged audience that aligns with your vision. Always expect dissidents and have a plan for them.
  2. If crowdsourcing has been a successful tool, then consider institutionalizing it via Open Innovation. There exist many software tools to make this possible.
  3. Making ideas physical makes them real in the eyes of the stakeholders (customers, mangers, etc.). But do it risk-free at maker spaces to reduce the time and cost involved.
  4. One of the biggest challenges to executing innovation projects is ourselves. Arm yourself with behavioral innovation tools and overcome the common pitfalls.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Find out more about these tools and begin innovating now with proven strategies and the right Innovation Tools. Share yours in the comments section below.