Skip to main content

The Yin-Yang of Marketing Innovation

The goal of many organizations is to become more customer-centric, so it should come as no surprise that marketing is being tasked to generate substantive digital growth via meaningful innovation. Moreover, creating improved customer experiences tops the list of corporate goals for marketing-driven innovation efforts.

The possibilities for enhancing the B2B customer experience are vast, but the path to progress is problematic. Let's explore the available evidence.

According to the latest research insights from Gartner, marketers need to focus more on the few high-potential ideas that can really show value for the customer and the rest of the business. They must also raise the profile of the marketing organization as a key innovation partner.

Marketing Innovation Investments

Some Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) have embraced the challenge and are committing financial resources and staff headcount to help drive successful 'digital growth' initiatives. Marketing budgets show increased spending on innovation efforts. That spending trend shows no signs of decline.

Gartner says that more than half of all marketing organizations now have dedicated innovation staff. In-house talent works in concert with marketing technology partners and external marketing agencies to form an ecosystem of human resources driving innovation projects.

Companies that make above-average financial commitments to marketing innovation report higher revenue and profits compared to their industry peers. Having dedicated talent on their teams also makes business leaders more willing to back high-risk, high-potential return initiatives.

CMO inclusion in strategic planning, combined with dedicated resources for the task at hand, should help to drive marketing innovation success, yet constraints remain. Marketers say that organizational resistance to risk, an inability to measure the impact of innovation and challenges finding skilled and experienced talent limit the impact of their innovation efforts.


Gartner believes that these barriers to progress reflect a larger issue of an organizational mindset. Innovation sometimes introduces new concepts that require a 'leap of faith' in untested people and their associated ideas.

To truly innovate, marketing leaders must be willing to fail. Most executives understand that in theory, but when faced with a real-world decision to fund a new idea, they balk. Gartner says that the lack of trust between marketing and finance leaders can negatively impact strategy execution.

"Innovation used to be thrown around as a buzzword, but as CMOs continue to dedicate headcount and build strategic partnerships, marketing-led innovation has become a maturing practice driving legitimate growth for the business," said Elizabeth Shaw, senior director analyst at Gartner.

Marketing Innovation in Practice

From my perspective, I've witnessed the ongoing challenges of developing and nurturing B2B marketing teams that have the appropriate mix of skills and experience. Within the business technology arena, the task is compounded by the need to draw upon the talent that has proven industry domain expertise and demonstrated business acumen.

Across the technology sector, the availability of multifaceted marketing staff -- both internal and external sources -- seems to have been in decline over the last decade. Furthermore, recruiting new people who have the desire to learn and apply core product marketing skills remains problematic. Marketing campaign specialists are abundant. Social media experts are bountiful. Yet few aspire to learn the ability to research and develop compelling customer-centered narratives.

Why has this inability to build a pool of customer-aware commercial storyteller talent become a showstopper for most technology vendors that seek new market development advancements? In reality, most vendors offer undifferentiated points of view about their available offerings. They highlight product-centric benefits that are virtually identical to their competition while claiming that they're somehow unique (when they're not).

Besides, rather than consider the illuminating findings of market research studies or the revelations from customer survey results, they'll more than likely ask their salespeople and/or channel partners to provide the requested guidance -- in the belief that this might (potentially) lead to differentiated offerings. The desire to conduct a comprehensive situation analysis is rare, by comparison.

Granted, it takes time to perform an in-depth 'design thinking' assessment. That's often counter to the 'agile marketing' methodology that currently dominates the typical 'stand-up' meeting process. Is there a way to combine two opposing thoughts within the same marketer's brain? Today, I don't know the answer.

That said, I'm hopeful that by continuing to ponder these scenarios, a viable solution will emerge... eventually. Today's industry marketing of complex IT products and services require the development of persona-based value propositions that uniquely target the business outcome interests of key C-suite decision makers.

Reach out, learn more: Contact us now

Popular posts from this blog

How B2B Marketers Fuel Predictable Sales Growth

There was a time when vendor marketing executives could choose to focus their attention on branding and related advertising campaigns. From the company's sales leadership perspective, if that eventually resulted in generating new business opportunities, that was a welcomed bonus. But as time went on, the bar of expectations was raised and marketers were asked to more closely support meaningful new sales growth. Now it's already commonplace. More marketing leaders are expected to directly influence the acquisition of new customers and associated sales revenue. Besides, they're given the challenge of optimizing their marketing efforts to ensure that they fulfill the customer's fundamental need for helpful information and guidance, during the buyer's journey. Exploring the Marketing Impact on Growth Meanwhile, industry analysts that support the technology sector are researching and analyzing the relative performance of these marketing activities. To gain a dee

Buyer Enablement: Digital Transformation Evolution

Digital innovation timelines will double, according to Gartner's latest predictions. Through 2021, digital transformation initiatives will take large traditional enterprises, on average, twice as long and cost twice as much as anticipated. Large organizations will struggle with digital innovation as they recognize the challenges of information technology (IT) modernization. That said, the enterprise leaders' challenge can also translate into an opportunity for qualified IT vendors that offer help and support. Buying a Digital Solution is Complicated Given the potential for new upside opportunities, more IT vendors will be focused on revenue growth in 2020 and beyond. Last year, many incumbent IT vendors continued to harvest revenue from their vast installed base. Looking forward, however, some will need to raise the bar of expectations. Goal: reach and engage 'new contacts' at existing customers, and net-new clients. However, the IT Infrastructure market has

Demand for Hybrid Sales and Marketing Skills

 “ How do we sell our complex solutions to increasingly demanding customers in order to meet rising organizational growth goals? ” -- That's the question that Gartner considered in its recent market study that explored the key challenges they hear most often from chief sales officer (CSO) clients. Gartner's latest research demonstrates the IT industry buying reality. As business-to-business (B2B) buying behavior continues to change, the traditional IT vendor go-to-market approach will fail to meet expectations. Therefore, Garner analysts now believe that for CSOs to deliver constant revenue growth, they can’t simply improve their traditional selling skills from a bygone era. They have to evolve and adapt into multiskilled generalists that demonstrate their business and technology acumen. Deep Analysis of The B2B Buyer's Journey Meanwhile, as IT vendor content marketing capabilities grow, they produce more information resources than ever before. Yet, buyers ar