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What Does It Take for Marketers to Be Innovative?

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What Does It Take for Marketers to Be Innovative?
What Does It Take for Marketers to Be Innovative?

Consumers today often only pay attention to the loudest and most visible campaigns, says LeAnna Carey, chief digital and healthcare officer at Innovation Excellence and a speaker at the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association Leadership Conference. This makes it essential for marketers to innovate, she notes.

Carey points out that the challenges marketers may face in terms of being innovative aren't due to a lack of ideas, but instead are often caused by an inability to put those ideas into action. She discusses what marketers can do to overcome obstacles and innovate their way to standing out from the competition.

What's a challenge marketers are facing, and what's something that can be done to overcome that challenge?

I think the biggest challenge is that we have an attention-deficit society. There's a lot of noise out there and there's a lot of broadcasting noise, so [your company needs] to have that strong, unique singularity. The second part of that is the engagement factor. It's about how you build a tribe, or a community. Normally, you'd look at metrics, but traditional marketing is different. People actually come to the website because they want to engage with you. The public is a participator in brand sustainability these days, and the engagement factor is the reason why.

What does it take for marketers to be innovative and different?

I'm a non-traditional type of thinker. And being in innovation you have to be able to really think. The first question you have to be able to answer is: What is the change that you can bring to the table? Not “I've done this or I've done that,” but rather, what you envision. What I'd want to hear is how you are going to drive change.

What's an example of a recent campaign that was innovative and successful as a result?

I think a good example is Apple. It just hired a woman that turned around Burberry, and I think that is a huge risk in one sense, because she comes from a whole different field—retail—than technology. But research would say that hiring a woman on a board is revenue producing. I applaud the move; I think its capstone to the idea of cross-pollenation.  

What's the biggest possible setback to marketers right now who aim to be innovative?

There's so much emphasis on ideas and more ideas right now. When you're in marketing, you're responsible for ideas, but I think what happens is that you can get lost in ideas. It should really be about managing ideas and managing growth and opportunity—[and about] finding a platform that can bring [those ideas] along.

So, what's something that marketers can do that is actually different?

Social business is absolutely critical. I think the other thing is [recognizing that] all innovation does not have to be disruptive. For example, in bigger companies you cannot be disruptive. Incremental innovation is OK, and can work. The thing is, is that if you're not innovating in certain parts of your business model, you will fail in today's world.

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