When engineers do their magic in the garage and produce outstanding pieces of art from metal, wood, code or you name it – sometimes marketing people do not get the grease on their hands at that point.
Marketing makes the well oiled product presentations, pitch decks, websites and events – after the tech stuff is done. Right? Waterfall process. Very, very wrong.
Marketeers and sales people should be closely involved in the early product development phase in any company aiming for innovation – commercially successful new product, service or process. Knowing what comes next and when is important for the business roadmap and customer expectations. But the risk is evident: when you share early development ideas with sales, they may just run off their natural path and make sales case out of it. Mr. SuperSell then comes back to the engineers saying, ”I already sold it, could you produce exactly this product? And by this date.” This creates the dilemma of sales led development. I like the money, but not that as a process either, thank you very much.
When the marketing and storytelling wizards are involved in the fuzzy front-end of innovation and concept ideation, the project will most probably include the right set of customer enchantment from the very beginning. Why is it done? … is much more important than how or when it is done. The why is most important and the other two will get solved once there is an identified customer need. Then you get a bang from the budget and a deadline to deliver on.
So, this is the fine line of co-creation. Ideate, share, discuss, and gently produce the product vision and material together in a cross-functional team. Not always as easy as it sounds. Then you need to give the skunkworks and garage enough time to make their thing. And to iterate this often is the gentle part. The world is not going to be ready today, so why hurry?