Doug Garnett wrote a blog post titled Marketing Failure and Market Research Error: Two Unspoken Reasons Innovation Fails.

“Recent research claims to identify the “top obstacles to innovation” in large companies. (A summary by Scott Kirsner can be found in the Harvard Business Review.)  …. Nowhere in Kirsner’s article or the KPMG research, though, is marketing discussed.”

Marketing Failure

“Marketing’s job is to connect the human (customers, buyers, consumers, product users) to the hard core delivery of the company (products, services). No other organization in the modern company is so heavily driven by the vagaries of the human as marketing – not even HR.”

“Yet seeking to be ‘masters of the universe’ pulling levers to drive big change, business management attempts use detailed KPI based management systems to dodge the uncertainty of human challenges (see disease #3). Up against the hard issues of engineering, manufacturing, HR and finance, what the company needs from marketing in order to succeed can frustrate other execs — thus making the CMO the odd man out in the boardroom.”

“Innovation requires higher marketing budgets. Innovative new products require more research than an on-going product requires. They also need higher than normal advertising spending (if advertising – online or offline – is used). In advertising, a planning rule is that to capture 20% of the market with a new product, spend the ad dollars you’d need for a 40% share.”

“The need for initial (immediate) sales also makes marketing innovative new products different.”

“For an on-going line, there is sales momentum and communication that is already known to work. So introducing modified products or new versions can focus almost entirely on long term issues. But for a truly innovative product there is no momentum and no one knows how to communicate it yet. Innovation marketing must create all this.”

“The need for early sales is absolute — it’s true for every market and for every type of product:  sales from the moment the product hits the market determine the kind of success it will have.”

“This can only be done with product advertising that has excellent brand qualities. It can’t be done with what’s called ‘brand advertising’.”

Market Research Error

“To create great & innovative products you need to take risks. The research job is to learn where there is opportunity and help sort out WHICH risk is worth taking. So attempting to avoid innovation risk with research is a fools errand.”

“Research supporting innovation also needs to leave room for serendipity – because all innovation requires serendipity to be [successful].”

“Market research supporting innovation must uncover surprising or unusual opportunities to create value for customers which they will also pay for.”

“In my own innovation work, I find the most value from exploratory research. Working with my good friend and researcher Carla Roberts over the past 25 years we’ve developed an approach to research oriented around learning and exploration – not the usual rubber stamping or verifying.”



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