Strategy & Innovation

How do you market your innovation?

29.4.2024
5
min.
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In this article, we'll explore the concept of innovation marketing. We'll break the process down into several key steps, explaining how to transform a concept for an innovation project into a viable and attractive offering on the market.

Definition: what is innovation marketing?

For Dynergie, innovation marketing is a sub-step in the innovation process, which consists in transforming an innovation project concept into a viable and attractive offer on the market, so that it can be adopted. By offer, we mean :

  • The value proposition
  • Key features
  • Key benefits / Problems solved
  • Business model (customer segments, key partners, key activities, key resources, channels, customer relations, revenue streams)

At what stage in the innovation process?

An innovation project is divided into three stages. The first stage is emergence. Whatever the starting point, be it an idea, an ambition or a problem to be solved, the aim is to create a business concept designed in the image of the future product or service.

Once this has been done, we move on to the market validation test stage with marketing and sales experiments to assess the validity of the project in the market before investing too much, and thus deciding on a Go/NoGo.

Finally, with the deployment phase, investment, development and marketing begin, including continuous testing iterations. This phase is the longest and most complex.

Marketing your innovation takes place mainly during these last two stages. It's a job that's done several times over, allowing you to continually question what's gone before.

In preparation for market validation tests

Preparing for market validation tests is the first time we recommend marketing your innovation. As the concept is to be presented to the market, whether qualitatively or quantitatively, it needs to be presentable with a well-constructed offer.

During deployment

Deployment is the marketing of continuous innovation. Once validation tests have been carried out and the product is launched on the market, qualitative and quantitative data are collected. Using this data, you can constantly optimize your offering, increasing its chances of adoption.

How do you define an offer for your innovation?

An example to illustrate the method

Throughout the explanation of our approach, we'll take the example of a "Smart Recycler", an intelligent recycling garbage can for homes or offices that automatically scans, sorts and compacts recyclable waste.

0 - The starting point: a concept

Please note that innovation marketing is not a stage in the innovation process where the concept is imagined. This should be saved for the emergence stage, from which a designated business concept emerges, with the following elements: raison d'être/purpose of the future product or service, precise description of the technology, list of all its functionalities, end-users, minimum pricing...

1 - Align the vision with the offering: the product and/or service

First, ask yourself these 5 questions:

1. What type of offer are you proposing? Describe your offer succinctly in a few words. It's important to put it in layman's terms. Don't hesitate to give your offer a name to make it more concrete and easier to talk about.

2. How is it implemented? Describe the technological, social and other methods and processes used by the company to implement the offer.

3. Why this offer? Describe its purpose, what does it answer? What is its raison d'être?

4. What are your competitive advantages? Describe the competitive advantages the offer or company has over the market or its competitors.

5. What are the key features? Describe the solution's main features. What does the solution do?

Here's an example of aligning with an offer:

2 - Defining all the players in the ecosystem

Once you have aligned your vision with your product or service, make a list of all the players in its ecosystem:

  • Customers: buyers, users.
  • Partners: suppliers, technology partners, strategic alliances, investors and financiers.
  • Promoters: influencers, industry experts, media and platforms, institutions, trade associations, friends and family.
  • Competitors: direct, indirect.
  • Regulators or government bodies: cities, regions, governments.

Here's an example of how to define all the players in an ecosystem:

3 - Define target personas

Once you've structured your ecosystem, it's time to define the key targets you want to market your offering to. It goes without saying that your future users or customers must be chosen, but promoters or partners could also be relevant.

To select these target players, we recommend using an ICE (Impact-Coherence-Facility) matrix:

  • Impact: What would be the impact on the development of your innovation or your company if you managed to convince this persona?
  • Consistency: To what extent is the choice of this persona consistent with your overall strategy?
  • Ease: How easy is it to reach this persona?

Then, for each criterion, assign a score from 0 to 5, then add up the scores and finally prioritize 2 to 3 main target actors.

For each of them, you need to define a persona.

The persona is a detailed, semi-fictional description of a person, including demographic details, behaviors, needs, motivations, expectations and other relevant characteristics.

To define a persona, you need to gather data through interviews with target stakeholders, carried out as part ofqualitative research and accompanied by an interview guide.

Here's an example of a persona:

4 - Defining personas' JobToBeDone

The next step is, in our view, one of the most important, as it enables us to identify the triggers that will make a target persona use your innovative product/service.

So, for each target you've prioritized and for which you've defined a persona, try to identify the following elements:

1. Job: What is the persona's objective? What problems does he or she want to solve?

2. Trigger: What is the trigger that drives him to solve the problem or achieve the goal?

3. Outcome: What will his life be like when he has solved his problems or achieved his goal?

When a situation (Job), I want to motivate (Trigger), so that I can achieve the desired result (Outcome).

Here is an example of JobToBeDone :

5 - Fill in the value proposition canvas

Now that your JobsToBeDone are clearly defined, it's time to work on the Value Proposition Canvas.

1. Start by completing the section entitled "Value proposition card". To do this, use the elements from the first step. Place your answer to "What type of offer is proposed?" in "Products and services", then insert the functionalities of your innovative product/service in "Benefit creator" or "Solution". These features can either create a benefit, or be a solution to a problem. If they meet both criteria, you can place them in both sections.

2. Then, for each persona, fill in the "Customer profile" section, without taking into account your innovative product or service. Decouple the two and capitalize on your personas defined earlier.

  • Tasks (= Jobs, and yes, reuse your JobsToBeDone): What are the main activities the customer needs to perform on a regular basis? What specific goals or problems is the customer trying to solve? In what context or situation does the customer perform these tasks?
  • Benefits: What are the main obstacles or frustrations the customer encounters when trying to complete tasks? What are the negative consequences or risks if these tasks are not carried out correctly? Are there any aspects of the current solution that the customer finds ineffective or unsatisfactory?
  • Problems: What are the main benefits the customer wants to achieve by completing his tasks? What features or functionalities would the customer value most in a solution? How does the customer measure success or satisfaction in completing tasks?

It's normal for aspirations, benefits or problems to overlap and mirror each other. So don't worry if this happens to you.

Here is an example of a completed Value Proposition Canvas:

6 - Define all possible value propositions

Convergence occurs when your value proposition matches your customer profile, especially when your products or services solve major problems for your customer or offer significant benefits.

The value proposition canvas helps you explain how you intend to create value for your customers. When both sides converge, you succeed in creating value.

For each persona :

  • Identify which "benefit-creating" functionalities meet the desired benefits
  • Identify which "Solutions" features solve your problems
  • Identify the benefits or solutions you're looking for to fill a job.

Your innovative product or service may not have features that meet the customer's profile. If this is the case, your offer may not be relevant. Revise the features or discard the persona.

For all the convergences you identify, formulate your value propositions for your different personas in the following way:

Our solution [name of solution] helps [name of target persona] who want [job] in [benefit or problem]and in [benefit or problem].

Here is an example of a value proposition:

Our Smart Recycler solution helps eco-conscious households who want to recycle efficiently by reducing the complexity of sorting and educating their children about sorting in a fun and effective way.

Value generated : Simplification & awareness-raising

7 - Formulating the offer

Finally, you can prioritize one main value proposition per persona according to what you feel is most powerful.

Thanks to this work, you can build the basis of your marketing strategy for your innovation, with a mapping of your ecosystem, personas and a value proposition. In short, you have the main elements of a business model:

  • The value proposition
  • Customer segments
  • Key partners
  • The canals

For the other components - key activities, key resources, customer relationships, revenue streams - you should be able to determine them by working out a business model canvas.

Example of an offer marketing summary (very useful for creating a landing page, in our experience)

Implementation plan for an offer marketing workshop

Here's a workshop plan we usually use in-house:

Dynergie, innovation consulting agency, helps you market your innovations

Dynergie specializes in innovation projects. We can support you in implementing marketing strategies, as well as in all upstream and downstream stages. If you'd like to find out more, please contact us via our contact page.

Nicolas Hily

Marketing & Growth Manager

After spending two years as an innovation consultant specializing in the implementation of marketing strategies for innovative solutions, I'm now focusing on boosting Dynergie's growth as marketing and growth manager. Throughout my career, I've had the chance to experiment with a wide range of methods and principles derived from the field, my customers, my colleagues and various sources of information. Today, I'm delighted to have the opportunity to share this expertise with you. I hope to be able to share my vision of innovation and marketing through this content.

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What are the different types of innovation?

Discovering the types of innovation is essential for any company wishing to remain competitive.

Firstly, there isincremental innovation, based on the continuous improvement of existing products or services. It requires fewer resources and risks, but also offers more moderate benefits.

Secondly,adjacent innovation involves exploring new territories based on the company's existing skills. It may concern new markets or new technologies, while remaining linked to the company's core business.

Thirdly,disruptive innovation disrupts existing markets by introducing radically new products or services.

Finally,radical innovation is innovation based on entirely new technologies or ideas. It is often associated with a high level of risk-taking, but can also generate significant rewards if successful.

In addition to these four types of innovation, there are other more specific forms, such asfrugal innovation, based on the principle of doing more with less.

What are the different innovation strategies?

Innovation can be approached in a number of ways, depending on the company's context and objectives. Innovation strategies generally fall into four broad categories.

  • Product innovation: This involves developing new products or improving existing ones to meet customer needs more effectively.
  • Process innovation: aimed at improving a company's internal procedures, whether in production, distribution or management.
  • Positioning innovation: This strategy focuses on changing the consumer's perception of the product or service, often through an innovative marketing campaign.
  • Paradigm innovation: This concerns deeper changes in the company's vision and values, which can lead to a radical transformation of the company and its business model.

Each of these strategies has its own advantages and challenges, and the choice between them will depend on the specifics of each company.