Collaboration between Marketing, IT and Engineering Can Tell the Full Innovation Story
As marketing budgets grow in size and importance, companies must become better IT and Engineering innovation storytellers.
“Innovation” is a word that says everything. Yet, it means nothing without any insights behind it.
Companies use the term constantly to appear forward-thinking. However, by falling back on this vague and overused vernacular, they can fail to identify what makes them new and exciting.
This means that as marketing budgets grow in size and importance, companies must become better innovation storytellers. In many cases, this requires close collaboration between the people in the IT and engineering departments who are on tech’s front lines and marketing teams telling the story.
For example, we’re all excited about self-driving cars.
Who wouldn’t want a few extra minutes to relax during their morning commute? But to frame convenience as the only benefit of autonomous vehicles ignores the fact that they’re technological marvels. Self-driving cars are more than a convenience. They represent a milestone in human history. Shaping innovation stories doesn’t just require the savviness of the marketing department. It demands insight from those who build these innovations.
If IT, engineering, and marketing are siloed, any innovation-first marketing message could easily fall flat. Together, these departments can communicate a message that highlights what makes their products advanced and exceptional. If they succeed, revenue will surge and partnerships will flourish. But failure means customers will abandon their brand in favor of companies with more edge.
Marketing’s Shift in Medium and Message
Along with partnering with IT and engineering, today’s marketers must also adapt to an increasingly digital marketplace.
Everyone is now a hybrid customer.
We shop for everything from toiletries to cars in both physical and online stores. It seems like there are a million variations of any one product. In technology, these variations can be complex. The IT and engineering teams — with their expertise in not only the products they create, but also the user experience — often have the best insight on what makes your products exceptional.
In this environment, traditional marketing has some gaps. The usual metrics — think same-store sales — don’t reveal much about an individual’s shopping habits, especially when it comes to technology. Relying on brick-and-mortar sales for insights can miss half the story.
Marketers must embrace digital tools, adapt to omnichannel sales funnels, and communicate the value of their innovation to an audience with more buying options than ever. What they shouldn’t do is overpromise and underdeliver.
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Going Outside of Brand Messaging
Besides this, companies should consider the opportunity costs they’re leaving on the table when they’re only expanding IT and engineering’s expertise to marketing.
By arming all internal departments with better data and slicker external tools, performance increases across the board. In fact, these departments can also be enormous drivers for something like automation. Consider how much an artificial intelligence-driven product recommendation tool would help marketers craft messages for segmented audiences.
After all, you can’t implement marketing solutions without a technologist’s guidance. That’s IT and engineering at work.
Customers Demand Transparency
Research suggests that customers’ appetite for transparency is overtaking their desire to form emotional connections with brands. In other words, customers want marketing with less manipulation. This means companies need to illustrate why products are innovative without falling back on unattainable promises and the latest buzzwords.
Ultimately, an innovation-first marketing strategy doesn’t shine if you’re not actually innovating — and that means putting IT and engineering front and center in both product development and promotion. We’re just beginning to see the first steps in the marketing arms race over cloud gaming, which is something technology giants like Microsoft, Apple and Google see as a pivotal part of their futures. The right messaging for innovation in this new platform will certainly require collaboration between the IT, engineering and marketing teams.
With the assistance of IT, marketers can figure out what a product can (and can’t) do to ensure they won’t oversell products to customers. More importantly, IT and engineering can show marketers what makes their product truly unique, including how that innovation delivers unparalleled value for users.
Even though these departments have different priorities, their goals overlap and skills complement one another. That makes them natural partners in a future where digital marketing techniques are used to sell digital products.