91% of marketing organizations are involved in setting innovation strategy for the business, and 29% drive it from within the marketing domain, according to the Gartner Innovation Survey 2019. The marketer’s sense of creativity and openness to new ideas are just right for the job.
But there’s another invaluable skill marketing brings to innovation—your ability to communicate ideas. The same process of honing an idea to its essence and framing it to appeal to people applies as much to selling innovative ideas inside an organization as it does to selling a product. It’s not optional. To drive innovation, you need to market it.
Organizations can be, after all, risk-averse. Marketers name organizational resistance to risk as the top innovation barrier they face. Business leaders may hesitate to give the go-ahead to new ideas with uncertain prospects and unpredictable downsides.
Marketers can help overcome resistance with a “crawl, walk, run” approach to innovation. During the crawl phase, marketers conduct research with end users and customers to identify unmet pain points; ideate new ways to solve them; develop a business case for the innovation, and identify possible partners who can help pilot the solution. These activities provide a foundation from which to develop a campaign to market the innovation to internal stakeholders. This helps overcome in-house risk aversion to provide the buy-in needed to graduate to first walk, and then run.