It was a Saturday evening and Appy, a male elephant with his name synonymous to ‘Happiness’, an aspiring innovator, and his twin sister Proppy with her name synonymous to ‘Prosperity’, a young aspiring entrepreneur, were just done hauling all the logs to the sawing station up the hillock.
They had gone back to join their friends in the lounge where all elephants hung out after work. Both of them were at it again while sipping a sugarcane juice.
“Should you run a company who believe in innovation? Or should you bank on your marketing team?”, asked Appy.
Taking a sip of the juice, Proppy said, “I miss Lucky, the serial entrepreneur and our charming mentor at discussions like this.”
Just when she said that she felt a tap on her shoulder.
Proppy looked behind her. It was Lucky with a juice mug smaller than that of Appy and Proppy.
Continuing the discussion, Lucky said, “Actually neither. Marketing and innovation are inseparable twins, just like you two.”
“Ah, Lucky, it’s been long”, said Proppy.
“Good to see you two”, said Lucky lifting up his juice mug. I was passing through this forest. I knew I could come by to see you two.
“Before Appy starts a big bar fight over this matter”, said Proppy with a smirk, “please tell me ask you how innovation and marketing are inseperable twins.”
“Can you see that machine which pulls up the logs you brought from the forest, where two gears work in tandem. The whole mechanism works because one gear turns another and then the last gear helps the pulley coil up the huge ropes that pull the logs?”
Appy and Proppy nodded in unison.
“Marketing and Innovation are the two gears that drives the engine called business.”
“Ah, then you just communicate what you innovate. That’s how everything falls in place, right?” asked Appy.
“It’s more than that. You both should read a very nice blog ‘Marketing and Innovation are Inseparable’.
by Kevin McFarthing. He runs the Innovation Fixer consultancy, helping companies to improve the output and efficiency of their innovation, and to implement Open Innovation. He spent 17 years with Reckitt Benckiser in innovation leadership positions and also has experience in life sciences. You can follow him @InnovationFixer
He explains how Sometimes innovation drives marketing and sometimes marketing gives birth to innovation”, said Lucky.
“As Kevin explains in his article, Marketing Recognizes the Need for Innovation, Marketing leads to the process of ideating, where ideas and insights mostly come from users. Talking to users and listening to the industry needs will provide opportunities for a business to meet unrecognized needs.”
Both Marketing and Innovation are Integrated
“When the market research team researches the market, it establishes desirability for a product. Then, the stakeholders involved innovate using the input and addresses the desirability and try to give the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). The R&D Department decides the feasibility.”
“They measure success based on the technology capability the company has. For example, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) decided that they needed better technology to put a probe on Mars. So they got to work and built a rocket powerful enough to help the probe escape Earth’s gravitational influence.”
Lucky paused to look at Appy and Proppy. They both interestedly nodded their heads. Using the opportunity, both of them took a swig from their juice mugs. Lucky was about to continue, when Proppy stopped him to ask, “How to give most benefits to customers for less cost to them?”.
“It is tough to give the most benefits for the lowest cost while the product sells at a high price. There are tradeoffs. Cost comes at the expense of some benefits”, answered Lucky.
The Role of Communication
“Appy, you mentioned communication before. Yes, communication plays a huge role in marketing. Whatever the innovation is about, however innovative the product is, the end-product must be about benefits, not about the features.”
“Customers want to know how convenient, efficient, appealing is the product you are pitching to them. And off course, you must communicate your innovation creativity, whether you are advertising it on television, radio or on the internet. And you must use the right media and the right time to communicate that.”
Lucky stopped and took a swig from his mug and so did Appy and Proppy.
“So, marketing and innovation is everyone’s job?”, asked Appy.
“Yes”, said Lucky and then continued, “your marketing must serve your innovation, and innovation must drive your marketing campaign. You must not hesitate to collaborate to innovate.”
“Yes, I understand now”, this time from Appy. “Your innovation should be communicated clearly. It must optimally integrate desirability, feasibility, and viability. If you market well, your innovation will succeed.” Appy thanked Lucky.
“Oh, I can appreciate when people say, ‘When the student is ready, teacher appears’”.
The three friends clunked their glass laughing and then took one final big swig before leaving for the day.