Innovation is the heartbeat of prosperity. When new ideas transform into useful tools, economic possibilities are born. Success is determined by the usefulness of what you create. Usefulness, unfortunately, is not always apparent. Marketing is the toolkit we use to build awareness of that which is useful. Without marketing the likelihood that useful innovation will become part of our society is unlikely. Marketing is the partner of all innovation. Without marketing, innovative ideas go unrecognized.
Marketing introduces new ideas to potential users. Marketing is much more than simply providing information; marketing provides the context that makes innovations meaningful.
Marketing provides the lens from which to look at innovation with a perspective of utility. Without marketing, innovation tends to take significantly longer to develop its place within society if at all. Innovators need to understand marketing as much as they understand the technical nuances of their innovations. Change happens when people accept new ideas. Marketing brings those ideas to people.
We live in a very innovative society with new ideas and brilliant solutions created at an astounding pace. Many of these brilliant ideas, however, will never have an impact on society simply because they are created in isolation without a view to how the market might adopt or understand them. Innovators that don’t work with marketers are significantly damaging their ability to create new products and opportunities.
The evidence of this is all around us. In Canada billions of dollars are being spent in university labs to create tremendous innovation yet, the success record of Canadian universities to commercialize these innovations is dreadful (See Auditor General’s Report on Innovation in Ontario). Coupling marketing and innovation together in the early stages of creation will propel innovations into relevance with greater vigor.
With many start-ups, there is a disconnect between engineering, science and a deep understanding of the market forces that drive commerce. If markets and trends are key to formulating and propelling new ideas, then marketing is as important to the Startup mix as invention and creation. Marketers work to make people understand benefits. Science offers us many solutions to the problems of today but fails to humanize the comprehension of those solutions because marketing and the making of meaning are poorly understood. Ignore the importance of marketing, and your failure is all but assured.
Many organizations have no context as to how their innovations will interface with the marketplace. Investing in that knowledge will create new relevance to much of the work done by Startups and university R&D labs across the country. Scientists do science; inventors invent, creators create, marketers make markets and markets drive the economy. If you don’t link innovation and marketing together the likelihood of success is dramatically diminished. Completing the circle to make sure that innovations are expressed with meaning should become an important objective of all organizations concerned with using science, technology, and invention to make a better world.
For Canada to become a nation anchored in innovation, then Canada needs to embrace and nurture the skills of its marketers. Rejoice marketers you are about to become much more important.