The Tricky Thing About Marketing Innovation

Like so many business buzzwords, “innovation” is a two-edged sword. As marketers, we understand the need to innovate to remain competitive. But we also know that innovation involves time, resources, and risk.   

Most businesses want a healthy marketing mix but lack a definitive strategy. Some live to pursue the next new thing and add attractive new initiatives and capabilities that end up underdelivering. Others take more of an “It isn’t broken, so why fix it?” approach and stick to the status quo.    

In an environment where marketing budgets hit record lows last year, the most significant opportunity lies somewhere in the middle — by keeping an eye on innovation without abandoning the tried and true.  

For a balanced approach, here’s where our most successful clients have landed:  

  • Have a plan. Although this sounds obvious, it isn’t always intuitive. There’s wisdom in taking a close look at your marketing big picture to get a sense of how each element affects the others. Interested in checking out a new channel or platform? Evaluate it in the context of your most critical priorities and goals — then make the call.
  • Read the room. As Deloitte points out, people are spending more time in digital environments like virtual and augmented reality, collaboration platforms and user-generated content (think “metaverse”). People also like their data privacy and are tired of being targeted, which makes human-first data experiences a top priority this year. 

    Before you jump on any new digital channel or platform, consider it against your business, your industry and your audience’s preferences — Where do they hang out? Which approaches do they consider helpful? How far can you go without seeming intrusive? And where does privacy come into play? The answers to these questions will help you determine whether the returns on your innovation initiative will justify the time and investment. 

  • Go for the win-win. Some platforms may seem more sensible, and others sexier. Our observation? Brands do well when they consider platforms where targeting happens organically. Content is still king, and conversations are still an essential part of the mix. For SEO and marketing, topic-based platforms like Quora and Reddit, which started slowly, have gained a lot of momentum for their rigorous moderation and content standards. Viewers choose the topic they want to read about without getting spammed, and marketers benefit from more industry-specific targeting. 

Bottom line: There are plenty of digital platforms out there to keep your marketing machine humming. It’s easier to resist the FOMO (and be more confident in your next move) when you have a transparent model for innovating on your marketing mix.   

Before you reach for the shiny thing, consider what’s smart and cost-effective, take a closer look at what your audience really needs, and choose the options that are performing well in your space. 

Looking to put a finer point on your strategy? Contact one of our archers.

Post a Comment