Marketing and innovation – a radical match

Continuous change and innovation are important, but how do you innovate? We distinguish innovation in two forms.

This type of innovation is also known as incremental innovation. The description reads: “Improving a current product or service so that it better meets the customer’s needs.” So that means you do what you did before, only better. Examples are the constantly changing models of smartphones or the sugar-free variants of well-known soft drinks. Characteristic of incremental innovation is:

  • High predictability: Improvements to existing products provide good predictions about how the market will respond to them.
  • Low cost structure: improving an existing product is more economical than developing a new product. The costs are often easy to estimate.
  • Market adoption: Since incremental innovation builds on an existing product, the likelihood of adoption of the ‘new version’ of a product is higher than if there is something entirely new.

This is also known as disruptive innovation. The description reads: “An entirely new product or service that has never been on the market before and is new to the market.” In short: to create something completely new. A perfect example of radical innovation is the first car developed by Henry Ford. This was the first means of transport that moved without animal or human effort. But the mobile phone can also be seen as a disruptive innovation, because it has radically changed the way we communicate. A major advantage of radical innovation is that a significant competitive advantage can be achieved. At the same time, the process leading to this is unpredictable, expensive and uncertain.

There are many examples of promising innovative products that were ultimately not adopted by the market. A good example is Google Glass. Harvard Business Review’s article “Why great innovation needs great marketing” highlights Google’s smart glasses as a great technological innovation that ultimately failed. Denise Lee Yohn emphasizes in this article that Google did not consider identifying unmet and unknown customer needs. People don’t know they need a new product.

Marketing and innovation can help each other identify customer needs. The greater the innovation, the greater the risk of failure. These risks can be reduced through marketing. Therefore, marketing around new products is perhaps more important for successful adoption than the innovation itself.

Innovations in marketing

Rapid development is also taking place within marketing. Every day we deal with incremental innovations, but also radical innovations follow each other in record time. According to Tushman’s ‘Technology Cycle Model’, this is because the online marketing market is in a relatively young phase, characterized by many radical innovations that follow each other in quick succession.

In this chapter we look at the most important radical innovations in the field of marketing. For this we use the Gartner Hype Cycle. Five radical innovations can be identified that have the potential to transform how marketers operate their technology ecosystems.

  1. Customer data ethics
  2. Artificial intelligence for marketing
  3. Visual search for marketing
  4. Marketing in real time
  5. conversational marketing

In this chapter we will discuss the various hypes, whereby the Artificial Intelligence hype for marketing is woven into the other hypes. These hypes are driven by artificial intelligence because algorithms based on data can make better and faster choices in visual search, real-time marketing and conversational marketing.

Read more in Marketingfacts Yearbook 22-23

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