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Big Ideas Are Not Enough

The Big Idea!

Editor’s Note: This post is part of our Big Ideas Series, a column highlighting the innovative thinking and thought leadership at IIeX events around the world. David Pulaski will be speaking at IIeX North America (June 13-15 in Atlanta). If you liked this article, you’ll LOVE IIeX NA. Click here to learn more.

By David Pulaski, Research Director, Siegel+Gale

Big Ideas often just aren’t big enough. And if they aren’t big enough or properly coordinated, they can end up working against each other.

Take, for example, a company launching a new product line. Market Research may have its idea of the target market, but Product Development is working to match a competitive product in the same segment. Due to time constraints, Marketing Strategy began development of its approaches even before the market research was available, and Digital had to begin programming before each of these departments were able to provide any input on what their approach was.

A global launch further complicates matters. Marketing and Sales determine that it is most efficient to develop one global training program to inform its key customer contact people of the product’s salient selling points, launch strategies and advertising support. Certainly the training will then be consistent for the product, but it doesn’t take into account that not all of the global markets are homogenous.

Each market is likely to have different needs or wants from the product. Despite the hypothesized efficiency of this approach, the training must be modified or adapted to properly meet individual market conditions to be successful. Too often, appropriate input from the local market is not sought until it is too late to make appropriate changes.

Over time, I have seen many brand strategies and product launches fail due to lack of coordination and proper integration. Coordination is difficult to obtain when many firms continue to work in “silo” environments. This problem is only getting worse with the addition of new digital information and communication strategies. Each department is working so quickly to meet its individual deadlines that there is little time to integrate each of the “solutions” properly to launch a new product or make subtle strategic modifications. Typically:

  • Market Research identifies appropriate customer segments
  • Product Development shapes the features and pricing of the new product
  • Advertising messages are crafted to the specific segments
  • Merchandising materials are created to enhance the model’s appeal
  • Sales training programs are developed to ensure that the retail sales personnel can convey key benefits, value and competitive position
  • Marketing Strategy relays what has been identified as key benefits through brand, communication and advertising strategies

Big ideas just aren’t enough without coordination and teamwork.

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One response to “Big Ideas Are Not Enough

  1. You are describing the typical siloed approach that is neither efficient nor effective. Coordination is key. When I worked in Corporate Development at Noxell (Cover Girl Makeup, Noxzema, Lestoil and more), we were empowered to handle all of what you describe, except sales training on the product. However, since we were involved from concept through development and in-store testing, the sales force was part of the development team and sales training evolved along with product development toward launch.

    This was a very efficient and effective process, as all affected parties for the actual launch were involved throughout the development process as active team members, including R&D, Sales, Manufacturing, Packaging, Legal, Marketing, Merchandising and Advertising.

    It is always surprising to me that so many companies are still working in silos and not working together in an open, transparent, complimentary, team approach to innovate and solve problems together toward achieving success.

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David Pulaski