The world of marketing and advertising used to be very simple. If you got a branding or marketing job with a company, you would inherit an agency that the person above you or before you had hired to work with the company to get your advertising and marketing campaigns developed and executed. After a few years if you worked in an agency you might go work for a company and manage an agency, or after a few years working in marketing or advertising for a company you might leave to go work for an agency, and this cycle might repeat several times over the course of your career.
In this simple environment, companies looked to their agencies to bring them innovations in marketing and/or advertising.
But this simple world of marketing and advertising is being disrupted and made more complex in the same way that many other industries are (think book publishing, book retailing, management consulting, etc.).
We live in an era where people have more places in which they can collect and share experiences, both on-line and off-line. Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, hundreds of cable TV channels, hundreds of satellite radio channels, on-demand audio and video (both online and off), Pinterest, Instagram, meetups, unconferences, flash mobs, etc.
We live in an era where marketing and advertising work can be fulfilled not just via the company/agency partnership, but also via co-creation with customers, crowdsourcing, via crowdfunding, or utilizing cloud labor or crowd computing.
With the rise of the digital marketplace also came a plethora of new digital and social marketing and advertising agencies, many of which were snapped up by giants like WPP to infuse some new thinking and “innovation” into their traditional direct marketing and advertising execution methods.
But now, comes the news that Nissan (who has switched their slogan from “Innovation for All” to “Innovation that Excites”) has created their own Marketing Innovation Lab rather than just relying on their roster of agencies to bring them innovations. Nissan may not be the only company to do something similar, but it begs the question, where should marketing innovation come from?
Obviously Nissan doesn’t feel that they are getting enough innovation in their marketing efforts from their agencies, and it makes you wonder, shouldn’t it be the agencies not the companies who are looking to find and support upstart companies and apps with marketing and media potential?
Well, why should any company look to source innovation from any one place, even if it is marketing innovation?
I would say that every company looking to succeed at ANY type of innovation should be looking to collect dots to connect from as many sources as possible, including:
- Agencies and Advisory Firms
- Co-Creation with Customers
- Adjacent Industries
- Distant Industries
- Market Research (ethnography, surveys, focus groups, trends, etc.)
… (insert your favorite here)
So, where will your next marketing innovation come from?
And, who are you working with from outside in order to bring innovation inside?