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The Marriage of Marketing and Innovation Maybe a Shotgun Wedding, But With Marketing Jobs on the Line, It Has To Happen


Marketing has become one of the riskiest jobs in America, with the tenure of chief marketing officers, at top brand companies, now averaging less than two years.

Consumers are changing the rules of business, with billions of mouse clicks, every day. Very few marketers have been able to keep up. A recent study, “Marketing Mousetraps 2006: Emerging Best PracticesTM” ( indicates that marrying marketing strategy to innovation processes may be one good solution. The study also confirms that marketers are having a tough time leaving their old mousetraps (e.g. strategies) behind.

The problem with old-style marketing mousetraps is that they manipulated people. They did that quite well (albeit at increasingly discounted prices), for more than 100 years. Today, however, people are manipulating marketers (through billions of clicking mice). They want what they want . . . where, when, how, and at the price they want it. Marketing mousetraps that cannot deliver are failing.

The extent of marketing failures is evidenced by recruiting firm Spencer Stuart’s recent statement (in “CMO tenure: Slowing down the revolving door”, that “NASCAR drivers beware. The role of today’s chief marketing officer (CMO) is fast becoming one of the riskiest jobs in North America.”

Marketing Mousetraps 2006: Emerging Best Practices (Bob Roth, Ph.D.) points the way toward one possible solution. Key findings include:

1. Widespread failure of marketing strategies, and the resulting revolving door, is frustrating to both CEOs and marketers.

2. CEOs and marketers hold similar views as to what is not working. Both feel that traditional “4 Ps” marketing mixes are no longer cost-effective. There is also widespread disappointment with returns on mass media investments.

3. CEOs and marketers hold diverging views on solutions. Many CEOs expect marketers to work harder, smarter and faster to get their “Ps,” and whatever else they need, working better. In contrast, many marketers are looking to CEOs to make innovation happen more systematically and more frequently. The “real issue,” they say, is that the products they take to market are increasingly less competitive.

4. The cultural separation between marketers, CEOs and other managers, caused by silos, smokestacks, fiefdoms and other thick-walled barriers, continues unabated. It may be increasing.

5. While infrequent, a few marketers are working closely with managers of other functions to integrate marketing strategy into customer-driven process innovation. Where this is happening, design and production of innovative products and services is more consistent, and returns on marketing investments are improving.

The study offers encouragement that management teams can marry their marketing and innovation processes. As they do that, innovation may become more reliable and sustainable and innovative products will go to market more frequently and more profitably.

Dr. Roth believes that these findings are “footprints in the sand,” pointing the way toward better marketing strategies such as ProcessPowered Marketing. He notes, however, that “The challenge, in a world of dysfunctional corporate families, where management kids often do not play nicely in the same sandbox, is getting the marketing and innovation processes married.” If it has to be a shotgun wedding, so be it.

About Bob Roth, Ph.D.

Bob Roth, Ph.D. brings extensive research and his perspective as a marketing executive with several Fortune companies, advertising agency founder, corporate trainer and consultant to the development and teaching of ProcessPowered Marketing strategy. His goal is to provide top marketers and forward-facing companies with the knowledge and confidence they need to build better marketing mousetraps.

Dr. Roth has served more than 100 clients, including:
3M Corp. - American Productivity & Quality Center (first administrator of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award) - Arizona Office of Tourism, Baxter Healthcare - Best Western International - Colville Confederated Tribes - Council For Continuous Improvement - Del E. Webb Corp. - Doubletree Inns & Hotels - the Dunes Casino & Hotel - Econo-Car Corp. - Forever Resorts LLC - Grand Canyon Railway - Health Central Network - Hewlett Packard - Kaiser Permanente - Navajo Nation - National Semiconductor - Pannell Kerr Forster - Sandia National Laboratories - Sara Lee - Scottsdale Center for The Arts - Western International University - Whirlpool.


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