10 steps to start the strategic marketing innovation process
We all know the feeling – a new product or service, an exciting pitch, the need to breathe new life into an existing product, etc. – the path towards marketing innovation can be laden with distractions, the status quo, knowledge gaps, tight deadlines, and lack of budget to name a few hurdles. What I've personally found has developed organically for me over these years is 10 concrete steps that I take before embarking on developing a creative strategy and plan. I've tailored these steps to fit within the current climate I’m operating under, but each one is always included in the process (behind the scenes or centre stage). One of the benefits that I have found is that after taking the time to research and allow outside-the-box thinking I have a clear picture of the way forward, with many of the details, challenges and opportunities already fleshed out. No matter the project size or scope, having a clear understanding of all the various pieces has been crucial to success.
1. Get to know the company and product beyond the SWOT: Who are they? What do they stand for? What do their employees think? What are their long-term goals? Are they set up for rapid change or are they slow and steady? Are they progressive or traditional?
2. Get to know what their customers (and former customers) think: What do their customers say about them? What is their USP (perceived or earned)? Who do their customers believe them to be?
3. Get to know the competition and their customers: Who else is in the market? What types of products are they focusing their efforts on? What is their USP (perceived or earned)? What do their customers (current and former) think about the brand and the products? What type of marketing channels do they use?
4. Revisit previous campaigns: What types of mediums did they use? What was the messaging? What visuals did they employ? Did they receive any press coverage? Do they have metrics on results? Was there any follow up?
5. Seek out the developed and developing trends in the space: Which way is the wind blowing with consumers, the competition, the media, technology, etc.? What is hot right now and what is next?
6. Free associate: Use the company, the product, the image, the brand, the vision, to free associate connections; large and small. Be creative. There is no box. Let your mind roam.
7. Think of the future: Are you building a brand? Launching a product that will become iconic? Promoting an existing product? Announcing a sale? Put it in context.
8. Examine what’s related: What is related to your product in your customer’s life? What other products or services are related? What are the connections between them?
9. Notice the cultural landscape: Are there cultural trends beyond those in your market that may impact your strategy?
10. Visualize the touchpoints: How does your customer or prospect interact with media channels? What are they looking for in each interaction?
[photo credit: Ozyman on Flickr]