10 Step Marketing & Innovation Process

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” ~Albert Einstein

I’m an idea junkie. I find it fun to come up with new products, services, and marketing ideas that don’t already exist. I let my mind wander. I seek out inspiration to ideate and dream big no matter if it’s for a client project or just for fun. Creativity and innovation go hand in hand. They are muscles that can be cultivated if you’re willing to put in the time to grow them. If you want to be more inventive, you have to put it into practice.

In Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert shares that ideas come to you because they want you to bring them to life, but most of time we say no. We say no because we think it’s not the right time, we’re afraid, or the many other excuses we come up with to brush it off.  Then that idea leaves you to find someone else to bring it to life. How many times have you seen something and said, “hey, that was my idea!” Exactly. Timing matters. If you’re curious and excited about an idea, explore it, but above all just take action.

I have a little check list for myself based on design thinking principles to think about ideas in a methodical and practical way. At the core, it’s always about the end user. It’s easy to get caught up in one part of the innovation process, but the beauty of design thinking is that it keeps you accountable and forces you to pivot a lot sooner than maybe you were ready for. I hope you’ll find this list below helpful. Feel free to connect if you have any questions.

10 Step Marketing & Innovation Process

1. Understand

Seek first to understand existing and desired target market(s)

  • Start with a clean slate
  • Ask leading questions while proactively listening
  • Find needs & wants
  • Approach with empathy
  • Look for patterns

2. Inspiration

Look for and take note of ideas and trends

  • Tech
  • Culture
  • Blogs
  • Books
  • Social media
  • Newspapers
  • Talk with thought leaders

3. Ideation

Talk about what the future will look like in 3 to 5 years if there were no limits or restraints. Agree on a vision for the organization in that future.

  • Create a space that adapts to the group’s collaboration needs, movable furniture/white boards, etc…
  • Get creative, every idea has a place in the process. Gather a diverse group of people to mind map, war rooms, etc…
  • Go to events

4. Analyze

Gather and look over data

  • Ask questions to better understand what has transpired
  • Form hypothesis and test assumptions
  • What has worked?
  • What hasn’t worked?

5. Strategy

Based on research findings, develop options and a plan according to what the vision of the organization will look like in the short and long-term future.

6. Prototype

Create mini versions of proposed ideas before launching full-scale.

7. Implementation

Follow-up by making achievable smaller goals to reach end goals. Set clear, tangible strategic goals you want to achieve with a timeline and a point person resposible for follow-up.

8. Quantify

Put metrics in place to quantify and hold accountable the actions and goals that are determined.

9. Monitor

Watch the progress of how a proposed prototype plan works by actively looking at quantifiable metrics.

10. Refine

Based on quantifiable metrics in place, adjust plan as needed by following and including design thinking principles from beginning to end. Keep listening to users needs and refine as needed.


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