7 signs that your marketing isn’t innovative

Innovation in business is seen first and foremost at the product or service level, but marketing managers often consider themselves innovative as soon as they have a creative idea. Here we describe 7 things you have to change to get your marketing ready for innovation.


  1. You don’t rock the boat

You’ve got a great idea for marketing a new product and every department is cheering? Start over again. Decisions about too many marketing processes and results are made in big committees, so at some point they’re automatically geared toward consensus. That will get you through all the meetings, but your idea probably won’t be radically new.


  1. You want guaranteed success

“Paralysis by analysis” describes the situation in which a project gets bogged down by excessive deliberations during its early stages. You risk slowing down your project if you insist on getting the last 10% ROI guaranteed, and maybe the competition will be faster. Be bold, admit that you don’t have everything nailed and take a risk.


  1. You only trust your gut feeling

The opposite extreme to paralysis by analysis is “extinction by instinct.” You think years of experience as a marketing manager or managing director gives you a good nose for new trends? Then you risk having everybody around you nod things through instead of thinking for themselves. Make sure you get enough information and an open discussion. Your experience is still needed, bur you shouldn’t base your decisions on that alone.


  1. You don’t know your target groups (enough)

“Our target group is small businesses and the managing directors of medium-sized businesses.” If you think that defines your potential customers well enough, you’re way off target. Before putting a new idea to work, find out about the needs and constraints of your customers. Work from there to write up a clear statement of the benefits that only your company offers. One possible approach is to develop “personas,” representative customer profiles based on interviews with “real” potential or existing customers.


  1. You think it’s innovative to extend your marketing into the social web

Extending existing communications into the social web can be useful, but that doesn’t make it innovative by any means. True innovation is achieved by doing things like developing new pricing models or placing your product or service in a new or unusual category with a clever marketing strategy.


  1. You’re satisfied with the initial inspiration

The best ideas come while you’re showering or having a glass of wine, right? Wrong. That’s a tenacious myth. In the vast majority of cases, innovative ideas are the product of a laborious creative process in which your team systematically checks the feasibility of every creative option. Go through every aspect of your marketing mix. Look at innovative solutions from other sectors. But don’t fall into the paralysis-by-analysis trap (see item 2); go ahead and risk some hard creative effort.


  1. You already know the outcome before you start

As already mentioned, you should know the constraints of your target groups and work on solutions for them. But it’s no good to narrow down the desired outcome too much from the beginning. If you define your project’s outcome and its budget in advance, your results are sure to be anything but innovative.



What innovation themes are currently popular in marketing?

Find out! We’ve asked some German companies about their innovation projects for 2018. You can download the results here:



Contact: Andreas Knepper, TMC GmbH (www.tmc-gmbh.de)


  • 25. February 2018
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