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Innovation and Marketing: Who’s Driving Whom?

by Jill Ransome

Both marketing and innovation are key drivers to business success, and in customizing solutions for our customers, we often find ourselves balancing the two, with the question often being posed: should we be marketing to what our customers currently know they want and need, or should our marketing focus on getting our customers to the next level?

In truth, it’s not a choice at all. Marketing is a key component of innovation, which isn’t simply the creation of new things but the development of a market for those new things. Innovation without marketing is merely invention. Nor is the relationship one-sided. Whatever you’re marketing, if you’re not paying attention to the technological innovations happening in real time, you’re already behind the eight-ball.

Consider, for example, the case of direct mail marketing. Although its origins trace back to ancient Egypt and then the invention of the printing press in the 15th century, its heyday coincided with the Industrial Revolution and followed along with advances in printing and graphics. Although direct mail began losing favor with the advent of email and social media, it’s recently back on an upswing thanks to innovative solutions such as predictive marketing automation, which uses real time customer data and related information to hone direct mail marketing into custom- and hyper-targeted campaigns.

Wherever you are along your digital journey, there are always new solutions available for boosting your marketing game—even old solutions into which innovation has found a way to breathe new life. The question becomes how best to leverage innovation into your marketing. Stay tuned because we’ll be addressing that in our upcoming Leveraging Innovation in Marketing Strategy: 4 Fundamentals.