7 Big Problems in Marketing: #7: Balancing Incremental and Radical Innovation

7 Big Problems in Marketing: #7: Balancing Incremental and Radical Innovation

Firms need to compete in two time periods: the present and the future. How does one balance this dual, or ambidextrous, orientation? How do we fuel necessary innovation in the present, while investing in disruptive technologies, business models, partnerships, and customer experiences that set the course for the future? How do we foster innovation beyond the product—to the organization, networks, financial models, distribution channels and other forms of innovation—that can accelerate competing for the future? Can we and should we balance over time by sequentially switching our focus from radical to incremental (e.g., behave like a tech business and build new “platforms,” then add “modules”) rather than trying to do both at once?

▶  HOW DO I SUCCESSFULLY INCORPORATE DESIGN PRINCIPLES INTO MY ORGANIZATION?

Pepsi and other firms have done a wonderful job of incorporating design principles into their organization, not just to redesign products but also to look at systems, processes and workflow. What can we learn from Pepsi and other firms that have successfully deployed design thinking? What is the dark side of design thinking? What does it create in terms of unintended problems for the firm?

▶  HOW SHOULD WE THINK ABOUT CREATING “PLATFORM” PRODUCTS?

It is not enough to have successful products. Successful firms think in terms of platforms, franchises and ecosystems. Think about American Girl. They are not simply products, but an entire ecosystem of products, information, brands and retail experiences. What are the lessons learned?

▶  WHAT ARE GOOD WAYS TO BUILD PROTOTYPES AND “FAIL FAST”?

What do great firms do in this area? Can large firms like GE practice lean-start up models, or is it almost impossible for large firms to implement? Do large firms need to implement things differently?

▶  HOW DO I MAKE SURE WE LEARN THE RIGHT LESSONS FROM MARKET TESTS?

How can I conduct such tests in a “fail-fast” way and still keep my intentions below the rivals’ radar?

▶  WHAT ARE GOOD INNOVATION METRICS AND HOW DO I INTEGRATE THEM?

How do you differentiate between number and quality of innovations? Which, if any, innovation metrics should I build into reward and evaluation systems? For whom? Which innovation metrics may have unintended consequences? What are they? How can such negative outcomes best be avoided?

▶  HOW SHOULD I ORGANIZE TO ENHANCE INNOVATION OUTCOMES IN MY FIRM?

What determines when I should make vs. buy? Is there a viable business model in which I can effectively outsource innovation and just buy the ones I see as successful? Can I still “win” financially by making such purchases and acquisitions? If so, how?

▶  FIRMS LIKE NETFLIX, OR EVEN PERSONAL BRANDS SUCH AS MADONNA AND JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, HAVE SUCCESSFULLY MANAGED ACROSS TWO TIME PERIODS.

In effect, they have re-invented themselves to “fit” into a new competitive space. What can we learn from these firms or brands?

Read the original article at AMA.org

This spring, we’re unveiling the AMA’s first ever intellectual agenda in our almost 80-year history that features what we believe are the “seven big problems” confronting marketing. The seven big problems will drive content for the entire AMA community: a multi-faceted and diverse group of professionals in marketing and sales, academic researchers and educators, and collegiate marketing hopefuls.

The AMA’s intellectual agenda seeks to serve as a big tent source of guidance and inspiration that includes both theoretical and applied knowledge that will ultimately provide actionable insights, frameworks, tools and resources for the AMA community. We’ve created a living document that can evolve along with the AMA community and the discipline of marketing itself.

–Russ Klein, AMA CEO

7 Big Problems in Marketing: #7: Balancing Incremental and Radical Innovation

7 Big Problems in Marketing: #6: Competing in Dynamic, Global Markets

While terms such as “hyper competitive” or “fast moving” have been around for a number of years, the speed of change—at the customer and competitor level—is accelerating at unprecedented levels. At the customer level, this is reflected in “location-based” marketing based on mobile apps, real-time tracking of customer behavior, and continual advancement of new, nimbler competition. For many industries, at the heart of this change are smart products, smart applications and interconnected devices as well as an increasing willingness of firms to develop ecosystems of partners rather than go it alone.

In many industries, the new and nimbler competition may be from firms based in second-world or even emerging economies. What are the implications of dealing with such non-traditional competitors? Conversely, the biggest growth opportunities for many firms are in emerging marketplaces, with unfamiliar customer needs, channel structures and even institutional set-ups and political systems. What does dealing with such new and dynamic markets mean for the marketing function? Does marketing continue to be the key interface for the inflow of marketplace information and the outflow of market-informed products and solutions?

▶  HOW CAN I COMPETE WITH ECO-SYSTEMS VS. INDIVIDUAL RIVALS?

There has been a great deal written on the shift from “go it alone” competitive dynamics to an increasingly networked world, where platforms compete against platforms. We see this most readily in the technology sector, but it is also apparent in most other sectors. What does a good ecosystem of players look like?

▶  HOW CAN WE BETTER PREDICT COMPETITIVE SHIFTS IN OUR MARKETPLACES?

To paraphrase Peter Drucker, the best way to predict the future is to create the future. How do firms shape the future? Do they do it alone, or in concert with others? What can we learn from this process?

▶  HOW CAN I COMPETE WITH GLOBAL RIVALS I HAVE NEVER EVEN HEARD OF?

This is one of the most significant concerns of big global players: Who are the new-to-the-world players that will emerge? How do I spot them early? Do I acquire them, or attack head to head? What does it take to make such foreign-market acquisitions work? How can I make sure that I fully exploit them?

▶  IF MY FIRM IS MID-SIZED (OR EVEN SMALL), HOW DO I GLOBALIZE QUICKLY?

What country marketplace characteristics provide the best guide for growth potential that I can tap (vs. just size)? How can I access such markets both in front-end customer acquisition and back-end logistics and delivery? How do I organize to make that happen? Trend analysis has been around for a while. Is it keeping pace with marketplace dynamics? When and why is it not? What can be done to bridge such gaps? For example, how can I better predict where and when new technologies may take off?

▶  HOW DO I ORGANIZE TO MONITOR AND PREDICT CHANGES IN MY MARKETPLACE?

Is this marketing’s job or someone else’s? If so, who? What are the costs and benefits of different approaches to doing so? Is simply trying to become more agile and respond quicker when changes occur a viable alternative to trying to better predict marketplace dynamics and change?

Read the original article at AMA.org

This spring, we’re unveiling the AMA’s first ever intellectual agenda in our almost 80-year history that features what we believe are the “seven big problems” confronting marketing. The seven big problems will drive content for the entire AMA community: a multi-faceted and diverse group of professionals in marketing and sales, academic researchers and educators, and collegiate marketing hopefuls.

The AMA’s intellectual agenda seeks to serve as a big tent source of guidance and inspiration that includes both theoretical and applied knowledge that will ultimately provide actionable insights, frameworks, tools and resources for the AMA community. We’ve created a living document that can evolve along with the AMA community and the discipline of marketing itself.

–Russ Klein, AMA CEO

7 Big Problems in Marketing: #7: Balancing Incremental and Radical Innovation

7 Big Problems in Marketing: #5: Dealing With an Omni-channel World

The 1990s were marked by a back-office revolution in efficiency, systems and re-engineering. As we transition into the 21st century, the key revolution is the front-office interface with customers. It is no longer a simple mix of brick and mortar integration, or even “bricks and clicks” integration. Rather, with the advance of social media, mobile media, always-on communications, the Internet of Things and multi-channel markets, the new catchphrase is “omni-channel.” What do we know about this world? Is it truly different than multi-channel? How might solving the “last mile” problem change the game in traditional industries such as consumer packaged goods—and who is going to do this? Amazon? Do the traditional theories and approaches work in such an omni-channel world? What new capabilities do firms need to put in place to take advantage of this world?

▶  HOW DO I FIGURE OUT HOW AND WHERE MY CUSTOMERS AND PROSPECTIVE CUSTOMERS WANT TO BUY FROM ME?

The fundamental problem is not the maximization of a particular channel, but the interfaces that link between channels. Think of these as drop offs and hand-offs between channels. Where do we see the drop off occur? Is there a standard pattern across industries?

▶  WHAT IS THE RIGHT MIX OF CUSTOMER INTERFACES?

Keep in mind that many of the interfaces are no longer under the firm’s control (e.g., Yelp), so how can we stay in front of these messages. Can we shape the debate?

▶  HOW DOES THIS WORK ACROSS COUNTRIES?

In many cases, the technology in developing countries, or the political infrastructure, are at odds with integration in a world economy. How does the political, economic and social context shape the ability to integrate a global company?

▶  HOW DO I ORGANIZE TO COORDINATE ACROSS CHANNELS?

The fundamental problem in most cases is the way the company organizes, rewards and manages profit and loss groups. A particular activity may be in the best interest of the overall firm, but not in the best interest of a particular business unit or group. How does the firm reward the unit that appears to be losing out?

▶  WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS FOR IN-STORE SALES PERSONNEL?

How enabled and accountable do they need to be in terms of awareness, knowledge and access across channels? Put simply, do in-store personnel need to be experts on mobile, websites, call centers and other touchpoints that the firm is using to reach out to customers?

▶  HOW DO I DEVELOP AN OMNI-CHANNEL STRATEGY FOR MY BRAND?

Are there general rules of thumb, or is every firm different? What is best practice, what is worst practice and what is next practice? What are the implications of omni-channel for selecting channel partners?

▶  HOW IS OMNI-CHANNEL CHANGING B-TO-B MARKETS?

Are there unique challenges in the B-to-B world that we do not see in the B-to-C world?

Read the original article at AMA.org

This spring, we’re unveiling the AMA’s first ever intellectual agenda in our almost 80-year history that features what we believe are the “seven big problems” confronting marketing. The seven big problems will drive content for the entire AMA community: a multi-faceted and diverse group of professionals in marketing and sales, academic researchers and educators, and collegiate marketing hopefuls.

The AMA’s intellectual agenda seeks to serve as a big tent source of guidance and inspiration that includes both theoretical and applied knowledge that will ultimately provide actionable insights, frameworks, tools and resources for the AMA community. We’ve created a living document that can evolve along with the AMA community and the discipline of marketing itself.

–Russ Klein, AMA CEO

7 Big Problems in Marketing: #7: Balancing Incremental and Radical Innovation

7 Big Problems in Marketing: #4: Generating and Using Insight to Shape Marketing Practice

There is a fundamental debate that is unfolding concerning the role of Big Data and analytics within firms. However, this data orientation (or obsession) may obscure the differences between data, knowledge and insight. An argument could be made that while our data and knowledge are rapidly growing, our actual insight is not. What does it mean to have a customer insight that can be leveraged in the marketplace? This problem could be addressed by new methods, but we are more concerned with unique, different information that leads to competitive advantage. How do organizations collect, share, store, transmit and “use” this insight? More broadly, in our knowledge-based economy that leads to competitive advantage rather than a traditional view of products, routines, capabilities and assets. At an even higher level, how do we know we know?

▶  HOW CAN WE GENERATE NEW AND BETTER CUSTOMER INSIGHTS?

This is not just about methods and techniques, but it’s also about looking around the corner and visualizing the future.

▶  HOW CAN I BEST CAPTURE MY CUSTOMERS’ EXPERIENCE?

We have all learned the tools of end-to-end mapping of customers’ journeys. What is unique about these journeys? Is it only about pain points, or about surprise points? What is more important?

▶  CAN WE ALSO IDENTIFY COMPETITOR INSIGHTS?

Almost all of the focus to date has been on customer or consumer insights, but channel-partner insights? Supplier insights? When are different types of insights more or less valuable, and why?

▶  WHO SHOULD BE DOING THIS IN OUR ORGANIZATION?

Folks have argued that market-driven companies are not marketing driving companies. If this is the case, what is the role of marketing in gaining new insights? Does it drive the process? Simply aggregate views from other areas? Is it a catalyst function?

▶  HOW DO WE INGRAIN INSIGHT-DRIVEN APPROACHES INTO ALL OF OUR BUSINESS PROCESSES?

Most of the focus to date has been on generating insights, and it’s clearly not an easy thing to do. How do we make sure that we fully and quickly exploit the insights we do manage to generate?

▶  WHO HAS CRACKED THE “INSIGHTS CODE” AND HOW DID THEY DO IT?

What are the best insights tools and frameworks for us to use?

▶  WHAT FIRMS HAVE DEVELOPED A “GREAT MACHINE” TO TAKE INSIGHTS AND DEPLOY THEM QUICKLY FOR REVENUE GROWTH?

Read the original article at AMA.org

This spring, we’re unveiling the AMA’s first ever intellectual agenda in our almost 80-year history that features what we believe are the “seven big problems” confronting marketing. The seven big problems will drive content for the entire AMA community: a multi-faceted and diverse group of professionals in marketing and sales, academic researchers and educators, and collegiate marketing hopefuls.

The AMA’s intellectual agenda seeks to serve as a big tent source of guidance and inspiration that includes both theoretical and applied knowledge that will ultimately provide actionable insights, frameworks, tools and resources for the AMA community. We’ve created a living document that can evolve along with the AMA community and the discipline of marketing itself.

–Russ Klein, AMA CEO

7 Big Problems in Marketing: #7: Balancing Incremental and Radical Innovation

7 Big Problems in Marketing: #3: The Digital Transformation of the Modern Corporation

Digital issues focus on pressing managerial problems at multiple levels of analysis. Our belief is that marketers have taken a very narrow view—examining social media, Big Data and the transformation of marketing communications. However, at the C-suite level, corporate executives are focused on much larger issues of business model change, survival and future competitive advantage. This is very evident in the world of banking and retail. However, even traditional industrial firms such as GE are transforming themselves from “dumb” to “smart” within the Internet of Things.

Key questions include:

▶  HOW WILL WINNING FIRMS COMPETE IN THE FUTURE?

In almost every industry, firms are moving from products to information and service businesses. It does not mean “products” disappear. Rather, they become the vehicles and platforms for information-based businesses. Nowhere is this more evident than in health care. We are seeing the migration of patients from hospitals to homes, with attendant monitoring and care through information-rich technologies.

▶  HOW DO THE FIRM’S INTERFACES WITH MARKETPLACE (E.G., COMMUNICATIONS, SALESFORCE) AND WITHIN THE ORGANIZATION ITSELF (E.G., INTERNAL CROWD-SOURCE INNOVATION, GAMIFICATION OF LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT, FLATTENING OF THE ORGANIZATIONAL HIERARCHY) CHANGE AS A RESULT OF DIGITIZATION?

Our key point here is that the entire organization is changing, not just the interfaces with customers. Structures, processes, workflow and decision right are being transformed due to digitization.

▶  HOW WILL IT/COULD IT AFFECT MY BUSINESS MODEL?

What are the types of new business models that are emerging? Is one type of business model superior, or does it depend on context?

▶  WHAT SHOULD IMPACT THE WAY I COMMUNICATE AND INTERACT WITH CUSTOMERS?

Formerly this was largely a one-way communication; now customers are taking control of the products, services, interfaces and communications. It is shared communication, not only between the firm and customers but between actors in the marketplace (e.g., customer to customer).

▶  HOW DO I USE SOCIAL AND OTHER DIGITAL MEDIA TO BOTH GENERATE NEW INSIGHTS ABOUT MY CUSTOMERS AND COMPETITORS?

Can I also use it to track my marketing performance?

▶  HOW DO I FIGURE OUT THE SCALE AND SCOPE OF WHAT IS POSSIBLE FOR MY COMPANY AS A RESULT OF EXISTING AND EMERGING DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES?

Read the original article at AMA.org

This spring, we’re unveiling the AMA’s first ever intellectual agenda in our almost 80-year history that features what we believe are the “seven big problems” confronting marketing. The seven big problems will drive content for the entire AMA community: a multi-faceted and diverse group of professionals in marketing and sales, academic researchers and educators, and collegiate marketing hopefuls.

The AMA’s intellectual agenda seeks to serve as a big tent source of guidance and inspiration that includes both theoretical and applied knowledge that will ultimately provide actionable insights, frameworks, tools and resources for the AMA community. We’ve created a living document that can evolve along with the AMA community and the discipline of marketing itself.

–Russ Klein, AMA CEO