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What is innovation marketing?

What does marketing have to do with innovation? Much, much more than most people can see or show in their organisation! On the one hand, innovation can only be successful with marketing; on the other hand, marketing needs innovation for product success.

Innovation marketing is an important part of innovation management.

Innovation marketing as a discipline encompasses marketing activities in the innovation process. This includes, for example, research into customer needs, concept and prototype tests with customers and the marketing of new products. These are all key tasks in innovation management and innovation marketing plays a very important role in securing and increasing the success of innovation.

Marketing and innovation - an inseparable couple.

Peter Drucker already said "Business has only two functions - marketing and innovation". He considered marketing and innovation to be the important basis for the company's success.

This is reason enough to take a deeper look at the purpose and role of marketing from an innovation perspective. Marketing includes tasks to increase sales. The focus is on customer and market orientation; all products, services and processes are to be aligned with the needs of customers and users.

Marketing has a very comprehensive role. These include the famous 4P, market research and strategic task.

  • Market research comprises the identification of customer needs, on the one hand current and future market needs, and on the other hand the exploration of possible market potentials.
  • Marketing also plays a strategic role. Based on the corporate strategy, marketing plans are drawn up. In many cases, marketing also plays a leading role in the development of strategies, as they are able to identify strategically important markets on the basis of market information, for example.
  • 4P is the marketing mix for marketing products. Four levers are available for this purpose: product design, pricing policy, communication and the type of distribution and sales.

As the listing of marketing tasks shows, there are many overlaps between marketing and innovation management. For example, analysing trends, researching customer needs and defining product policy in the marketing mix with product development and product design are also tasks that can be found in the function of innovation management.

These overlaps and close interrelationships make it clear that innovation marketing exists and must exist.

Definition of innovation marketing

Innovation marketing covers all innovation management activities that contribute to the promotion of the market success of new products and services. If one considers that the actual task and mission of innovation is market success, it becomes clear that innovation marketing plays an extremely important role in the innovation process.

Innovation marketing thus includes a very wide range of tasks, specifically all activities that are related to customer and market orientation and that enable a successful marketing of a new product or service.

In the front-end of the innovation process, innovation marketing contributes to the identification of future and new market opportunities and research into customer needs:

  • Research into customer requirements in specific market segments or product categories. This is about the current needs in the course of a concrete innovation project, but also about the anticipation of future needs and, as a result, the derivation of new innovation potentials.
  • Research into market potentials such as the attractiveness of a market, the size of a market, the potential for new products, etc.
In the course of the product development process, innovation marketing has the task of continuously involving customers and users in the process. The aim is to collect feedback from customers and the market on current developments. In the form of concept, prototype and beta tests, feedback on new products is obtained in order to test the future acceptance of the product and to incorporate the experiences and ideas into the development process for further development.

A major task in innovation marketing is the marketing of the new product or service, which is a continuous task and docks with the product lifecycle management. This involves both internal and external marketing:

  • As a first step, the company's own staff will be convinced of the new innovation, because this is the only way to bring the product to the market.
  • The second step is to market it externally. This involves the complete marketing mix with product positioning, pricing, communication and advertising, sales channels and much more.

Innovation marketing thus includes tasks in the front end, development and backend, making it a very important cross-divisional function that plays a very important role in the entire innovation process. This also makes it clear how closely the tasks of marketing and innovation are interwoven and belong together.

Importance of innovation marketing

The mere description of the task and role of innovation marketing makes it clear how important the function in the innovation process is. Innovation marketing plays a role in all phases and thus ensures customer and market orientation, an important lever to avoid the failure of an innovation.

However, if innovation marketing is not enforced and pursued with priority, there are many risks and dangers that must be avoided in an innovation project.

  • If there is a lack of information about the market, customers, users and their needs or if they are inadequate (e. g. not representative or incomplete), wrong decisions are made with regard to the product or the target market, which can drive a project in the wrong direction and, as a result, drive it to the wall. For example, the product is misplaced, the wrong target market is chosen or irrelevant needs are addressed.
  • The product does not sell. This does not necessarily mean that the product is bad. There are mediocre products that are marketed perfectly and are therefore more successful than those that are top of the line but are badly marketed. Marketing is therefore an important success factor, both internally and externally.

These two points make it clear that innovation marketing is an important lever for the success of innovation. Around 60 to 80 percent of new products fail and many of the reasons are based on a lack of customer orientation and marketing. That's why innovation managers and project managers have to deal with innovation marketing and work closely with marketing and sales.

Conclusion - What is innovation marketing?

Innovation marketing works in the front end of the innovation process to explore market potentials and customer needs, gets feedback from the customer in the development process and markets the product at the back end of the process. Innovation marketing thus ensures that the new products and services are geared to the market and customers. This is one of the biggest success factors in innovation management to increase revenue opportunities and eliminate flops and unnecessary waste.

That is why those responsible for innovation have to deal intensively with the topic of innovation marketing and work closely with marketing and sales. The top priority for all of us must be to develop a new product that customers can tear out of their hands.


Olivia Lancerotto

Olivia boasts 20 years of experience in the international marketing of B2B and B2C services. Both in strategy and implementation, the trilingual digital marketing expert focusses on the needs of the customers (of tomorrow) in a creative and data-based manner right from the off. After all, an idea only becomes an innovation through market success.

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