Marketing Innovation - Inventing Ideas

Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on June 05, 2011

Many a times, innovation is only linked to technological innovation. But in real world and business, innovation is much beyond  just technological innovations. Many times we hear about new products being advertised which is just a minor modification of the existing products or things in the market. They are highly successful too as they meet the needs. 

That one idea !

Let’s take an example to understand. Future Group recently launched a new mobile network called T24. You would be thinking so what’s innovative about it ? There are lots of mobile networks available. Mobile phones were an innovation, no doubt but how T24 is an innovation ? T24 is virtual mobile network like Virgin Mobile but you get talk time on the basis of how much you shop at a big bazaar or a food bazaar. You get a new connection on the bill and there you are.  Every time you shop at their stores, you keep getting talk time. This is called Marketing Innovation. People do shop a lot at their stores. So how do T24 earn money. They earn money by providing incentive to the customer to go and shop more at Future Bazaar stores. There are fixed brackets within which you get fixed talk time. So the buyer buys more, the company earns more. This is perfect example of a marketing innovation.

One more interesting example is the Garnier’s new shampoo – Fructis (Oil + Shampoo). The company understood the Indian market pretty well. In India, people do oil their hair a lot and especially before they shampoo , they go for an Oil ‘Champee’( process of applying oil to hair ). So Garnier came out with a new product Fructis Oil + Shampoo which combined both. There is no technological innovation involved as such, its simply a product innovation based on a marketing insight.

Commercial :

Garnier Fructis Oil + Shampoo

Mc Donalds has done wonders in markets like India. A majority of Indians are vegetarians and Beef is also not considered by many non vegetarians.  So they needed vegetarian options and so was born the Mc Aloo Tikki and Mc Veggie. Recently a paneer(cottage cheese) based burger has been launched as an vegetarian alternative to McSpicy Chicken Burger. Paneer is part of many Indian delicacies and is eaten frequently by people when they eat out of home so McD’s knew that paneer would be a successful option. Now even KFC did the same.

Marketing Innovation is very very important for any company to succeed in the market. Technological innovations might not always be an option. Sometimes a small tweak based on a marketing insight in the existing products  can do wonders.  

Sometimes a small technological innovation may also drive a new product innovation. E.g. the anti-wrinkle clothing. This was influenced by the need that young professionals didn’t have much time to iron their clothes or get them ironed. So introducing a fabric/cloth which didn’t need ironing was an obvious answer. So this insight led to development on new fabric which didn’t get wrinkle after wash and can be worn directly.

Nokia is often accused of not innovating technically as compared to its competitors. But Nokia has been a very smart marketer. The Nokia 1100 phone just for India was a superb innovation. It had built in torch, rubberized grip and a dust free keypad. Even the tagline was ‘Made for India’.  It became an instant hit. 

We all know Apple was not the inventor of iPod, but they were the ones who marketed it so well by inventing new ways to capture the target audience. They successfully gave cult status to iPod using lifestyle marketing concepts. The TG adapted the product really well and rest is history.

Avery recent example of innovation is by Blackberry for QR codes. BB didn't invent them but they extended them for adding contacts automatically by just scanning a code with BB phone. 

Here is the commercial for the same 

Blackberry QR code

Innovation is very important for every company to survive, succeed and flourish in its market. Innovation should be nurtured within an organization and should be part of the DNA of the company. Google has been known to nurture ideas developed its own employees. Next big product idea might not be big tech product or a website but might be an application of something existing thing to a new target market. 

In an earlier article on innovation, we had discussed how marketing is innovating by featuring in movies. So marketing innovation has no limits, no restrictions. As a marketer you need to fulfill need of the TG even sometimes by creating one.

Let’s end the article with an interesting innovation. In Punjab, India many small restaurant owners started to use washing machines to make Lassi ( a popular yoghurt based drink). Lassi is made by churning curd over a period of time. So the owners started to use washing machines for churning large quanitites of curd for producing a lot of Lassi in small time. 

In India, they call it Jugaad. In Marketing, we call it innovation.

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