Though it initially may seem hard to believe, Innovation and Marketing go hand in hand; one cannot be successful without the other. That being said, there is a preconceived notion that Marketing is simply the “before and after” (some may believe it is even just the “after”) while Innovation is everything in between, but I’d like to challenge that. In order to be successful, the walls need to be broken down and the two processes intertwined, which requires a drastic change in mindset.
In recent years, there has been a transition away from “Waterfall”, adopting more flexible “AGILE” processes. This has not gone without growing pains, both by Innovation and Marketing, and especially, where the two meet along the way. For Innovations, this is a cyclical process, beginning with defining requirements, moving to IU design and development, followed by QA, UAT, and release if all is well. This process involves “Sprints” and “SCRUMS” which are often not familiar terms for Marketers. That being said, if Marketing is introduced at the phase of “Release”, opportunities have already likely been missed. According to luis-goncalves.com, one major benefit of AGILE is “there is a radical transparency that holds all peers accountable for their actions,” but in my experience, this is not always the case. Often these two areas conflict and compete, for example, who is responsible for product definition? It becomes far more complex.
According to Hackernoon.com, “The goal in being agile is to adapt to change and even to turn change into opportunities instead of something painful you have to endure. The agile stance is positive retro-action (react to change positively with hindsight — no try to anticipate it).” Meanwhile, Marketing is often about anticipation, and being predictive or making assumptions. That being said, Phillips.com states, “Ideally, marketing and innovation should be two sides of the same coin, but we should remember that innovation must ultimately focus on customer needs. It is this customer-centric and integrated approach that has propelled the world’s most adored brands – from Apple, to Google – from what could have easily been category mediocrity to the height of fame.” Both sources reflect some of the challenges with “marrying” the two, but it is necessary. Moving forward, there will need to be new techniques applied to consider this, but more so, the adoption of a new mindset, even going as far as introducing “AGILE Marketing” methods to be successful in the future.