Marketing research must become a model for innovation rather than support the mere incremental administration of brands.
The marketing function has been under increasing pressure to deliver. Its challenge is to see new business opportunities before they become obvious, to lead the market and not be led, to have a proactive vision rather than a copycat mentality. To accomplish that, a “”facts-based”” analysis — using quantitative data from customer surveys, market studies and other sources — can help tremendously, but such approaches can sometimes be dysfunctional, leading to endless statistical analyses that obfuscate key points. Companies thus need a broadened approach to marketing research that takes into account conversations with customers, observations from the field and insights from executives, among other alternative sources of valuable information. The author enumerates seven key tasks that marketing must perform within an organization to enable — not stifle — innovation.