How does marketing strategy innovation happen?Today I retired my Google Glass to the display case.

As Glass Explorer since May 2013, I’ve had Google Glass on my desk, ready to go everyday since I picked it up in LA.  When I got home to Denver, I took it along when I went out and learned many of the nuances of how Glass could and might be used.

From that experience and use, I was able to formulate my own ideas about how Glass might be used.  But this post is not really about Glass.  It’s about innovation and the mandatory iterations which fail that then lead to success in products, services and yes, marketing.

Foundations of Marketing Innovation

If marketers did not innovate around their marketing strategy and look for ways to improve it, they would find themselves driven out of the company – if they persist in clinging to old ways, saying things like “Well, that’s just the way we do it around here – always have!” – they’ll find themselves out of the industry.  Constant innovation then is the way we have to go, but the way ahead and the innovations that will get us there are very often unclear and a lack of clarity is a point of fear for many.  “There is too much to risk!” they’ll say or that’s not a “best practice”, which is another way of saying how content they’d be with a “best average” result.  I think we can do better.

A “Clear as Glass” Moment

Marketing Strategy can be test & repeatToday I moved Glass from my desk with it’s handy little stand and gave it a place of honor in my display case, next to my Brownie box camera, Wollensak 8mm movie camera and the manual typewriter I keep nearby.

I don’t bemoan the experience with Glass or complain (loudly) about how pricey it was or what it took to become a 1st generation Glass Explorer.  First, no one would care but mainly because the reason I became an Explorer was to understand how we, marketers as an industry, would have to content with this new paradigm.  The initial selection process for people interest and committed to becoming an explorer was a contest.  Creating a post for G+ & Twitter or a video clip for YouTube was how you entered, so long as you created them with the hashtag  #IfIHadGlass”.  Of course I did all three and was awarded a golden ticket for May 28th, 2013.  In my winning posts I tell the Googlers that the reason I want Glass is so I can experience, learn and come to understand the issues of marketing through Glass.

If I had not had Glass, my experience would be superficial at best.  It would be based on hearsay, the filters of 3rd party opinion and a maybe a few chances to touch & wear Glass at an event, if 1) if there was a Glass Explorer at the event and 2) was one of the few Explorers who would share, talk about it and even let you try them on for a minute.

Relevance in Marketing Innovation

What if John Wanamaker had not hired John Emory Powers as the worlds first copywriter?  Back when Wanamaker was a big name in department stores, he was always on the lookout for way to improve.  When he opted to bring John Powers on board, he derived 3 benefits –

  • Benefit #1 – at the time Wanamaker wrote his own copy and Powers gave him back the time he had dedicated for that purpose.
  • Benefit #2 – Powers could concentrate on the what was working and not working in his ads much deeper than Wanamaker, who could only do the work part-time at best and never have more time to do research on copy-writing effectiveness.
  • Benefit #3 – Wanamaker’s Department Stores could grow revenue, if the ad copy was successful.

John was an innovator and you hear me referencing him often here on the Relevant Market blog because innovation in market strategy and data science analytic is what ProRelevant is about.  We are actively engaged in working to improve the MarketSim product, both technically in terms of capability & speed and from a user interface & business intelligence capability.

The reason the experience with Google Glass fits in here is because not everything we try is going to work out the way we thought.  Google Glass was brought out just prior to the revelations of NSA spying.  Pubic opinion I think was swayed by the ever-present camera pointing out at the world – and I think misunderstanding and a lack of a compelling use-case for consumers doomed it as a consumer technology.  I do happen to think that there is a great business centered use-case ahead of Glass, but we can look at that again some other day.

I’m content to know what I know about Google Glass and wait for the right use of that knowledge to come around.  Wearable are still new for most of us and knowing what Glass can do will likely work for me.  For now though, I can chalk the adventure up to experience and put my time to another use – like working with our ProTool Partners and helping them grow their revenue with ABM as an innovation for their clients and their market.