In our What is Marketing? tutorial, we summarize what marketing is about with a single sentence consisting of just 28 words. However, a clearer picture of marketing can be found in our dissection of the key terms found in our definition. In particular, for this post we want to focus on just one word found in the definition – “create.” An essential characteristic of nearly all marketers is that they must be creative in all aspects of marketing. This is especially the case for product decisions. Marketers need to be constantly on the lookout for new ideas that can lead to goods and services that will be of interest to current customers or, better yet, to customers they do not currently serve.
Considering the importance placed on launching new products, some may wonder why companies are ever late to a market when there are potentially great rewards for those who are early. Of course, there are many reasons including lack of research to identify new trends, lack of money to invest in new ideas and, possibly the most common reason, executives are happy with how things are going and do not see a need to explore new ideas.
Of course, the last reason is probably the thing that will eventually lead to problems. Being content with where a company stands in terms of marketing decisions is almost always a bad idea. Creating products is one of the most important aspects of what marketers do while not changing or innovating is almost always going to lead an organization to troubled times.
An example of the importance of innovation can be seen in this story from Fortune. It discusses how fast food chain Chick-fil-A, a company that is not necessarily known for innovative ideas, caught its competitors off guard last year when it added iced coffee to its menu. Chick-fil-A has found being early, to what is now a rapidly growing market for iced coffee, has been met enthusiastically by customers and is a key reason coffee sales have doubled. Naturally, Chick-fil-A’s success has brought competition from other major fast food outlets, which means company executives can’t afford to sit back and gloat about their success. Instead, with the speed at which competitors are introducing their own iced coffee products, Chick-fil-A will need to come up with another innovative idea in the very near future.