"If an organisation does not adopt a proactive attitude towards innovation and the creation of new ventures it is unlikely to survive in an increasingly aggressive, competitive and dynamic marketing place"1

In today's unpredictable economy, it is critical that businesses adopt an innovative approach to marketing in order to stay competitive in an overcrowded marketplace. With an increasingly competitive market and a growing number of digitally savvy and demanding consumers, innovative marketing is arguably one of the most effective ways of driving sales and increasing an organisation's profitability.

Data-led innovation

Most, if not all businesses, are innovating by using analytics to develop targeted promotions and personalised ads. While personalisation can be a highly effective marketing strategy that drives engagement, unsurprisingly it raises scepticism and cynicism among many. Love it or hate it, you cannot deny that personalisation is a powerful tool that can boost sales and change brand perceptions. Do you want to create targeted marketing or add a somewhat personal touch? Then personalisation is the answer. Whether some aspects and uses can be deemed 'creepy' or not, personalisation definitely has its benefits.

When talking about data, it usually isn't too long before artificial intelligence (AI) is mentioned. The development of AI, specifically through the application of chatbots, is also providing businesses with an efficient way of both communicating with clients, as well as trying to meet consumers' increasingly high expectations of online customer service. One real-world example of a company that has utilised AI effectively is Tesla. By collecting real-time data from Tesla vehicles, Tesla is able to refine its algorithms and give drivers accurate maps that reflect the current road conditions and traffic.

In marketing, AI can have a similar role of looking at the landscape you are operating in. It can then help you seamlessly adjust to better performance by deciding how to best allocate your budget across media channels or analysing the most effective ad placements to enhance engagement. Although it may be considered somewhat difficult to create and test AI software, a recent report found that AI can help businesses "increase brand recognition, capture attention, deliver relevant messaging and drive sales"2 .

Outside the box innovation

It might be hard for many to immediately see the benefit that virtual reality (VR) could have on their business, apart from showing how modern and 'fun' they can be, but IKEA is a prime example of a business that has successfully innovated through the use of VR.

How did they do this? They created a VR-based app that allowed customer to 'place' items of furniture from the IKEA website into their living spaces, allowing them to more easily envision how the item would look, fit and feel in their homes. A piece of innovation that quite literally put IKEA in the homes of their potential customers and made the buyer journey a more enjoyable process. Clever, don't you think? Not to mention handy.

The power of senior managers not to dismiss innovative ideas at the first mention of it, but to give them a chance and see how the wider business could benefit is an increasingly important trait.  It does make me wonder whether VR could ever be integrated into marketing for the investment management industry? While this idea may initially sound 'whacky', stranger things have happened.


1 - David Johnston - https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/00197850110395245/

2 - WARC., 2019. Effective Innovation Report Lessons from the 2019 WARC Award [online]. London: WARC.