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Transformational Innovation and Brand Building

I’ve heard of - and experienced - marketing and sales teams sitting closer together in an effort to build a closer relationship. This is a naturally difficult challenge to solve as the marketing team is normally responsible for both brand (long term) and demand generation (short term) while the sales team is focused on a monthly (short term) cycle.

But having marketing and R&D joined at the hip? What an incredible, innovative idea. Especially from a 133 year-old company.

The following are a number of quotes from both CMO and CEO of Del Monte Foods…

 
We’re doing more sharing than ever before on our innovation ideas, not just for us to say, ‘hey, we have this fully formed product, now help us launch it by putting together a campaign’. We really want to get them more in at the ground level so that they can add their value with creativity and insights as well.
 

Think of all the goodwill, speed and efficiencies gained in joining these two groups. Shipping products is tough, and near impossible when the product team is saddled with development, training, internal selling, etc. Having a close-knit R&D and marketing group creates a domino effect: Not only are both thinking long-term, they are also thinking how they can ship the product as quickly as possible. A dual-edge incentive.

 
Doner will, at the very least, act as an extra innovation resource without an extra cost to Wu, who has been handed an exciting but somewhat unenviable remit.
 

It feels like this is the right level for agencies to be operating at. High-enough to take their multiple clients’ approach and provide better insights into industry trends. The view this gives the CMO is immeasurable.

 
My role is to make sure that everyone’s aligned on what the business vision and business strategies are, and that we approach opportunities with an enterprise mindset.
 

Her role isn’t to “micro-manage” R&D and marketing teams to death. “Aligned” and “vision” are two great adjectives for folks in leadership roles.

 
I think in the past there was a lot of focus on perhaps investing in trade and promotion more, and while that still has a role within the overall marketing mix, we all acknowledged that the long term solution is to really get consumers more engaged in our brand and our products. That means evolving our product portfolio and our offerings.
 

Short-term thinking v. long-term planning. Or, “aligning” consumers with their products by driving a “vision” of where there offerings need to be. Coming back to the opening statement, this feels like the right alignment - both teams are focused on innovating the product mix to help enforce their brand.