For many years, numerous researchers and policymakers have laid significant emphasis on the progressive economic role that innovation plays on the performance of a companyCITATION Nai09 \p 1312 \l 1033 (Naidoo, 2009, p. 1312). Innovations in products allow firms to realize benefits of competitive advantage through initiatives, such as differentiation, whereas innovations in the production process facilitate in increasing manufacturing efficiency operations while at the same time reducing the affiliated costs of productionCITATION Ren10 \p 80 \l 1033 (Ren, et al., 2010, p. 80). Even though the different innovations have positive influences toward the performance of a firm, the effect of the two allows organizations to realize paramount competitive advantageCITATION Tin10 \p 5 \l 1033 (Tinoco, 2010, p. 5). In addition to the product and production process innovations, marketing innovations are also showing significant impact in driving competitiveness of organizations. In this sense, understanding marketing innovation plays an essential role with regard to allowing a company to sustain its strategic competitive advantage while at the same time maximizing the value of shareholders (Johne, 2011, p. 9). Thus, the paper will discuss the extent of marketing innovation as playing a major role in safeguarding the strategic competitive advantage of a company in the current business climate, as characterized by innovativeness, competitiveness, and rapid advancements in technology.
The marketing innovation term is relatively new in the business environment, thus leading numerous organizations to develop uncertainty over what it entails. For instance, certain firms associate marketing innovation with innovation and creativityCITATION Hug111 \p 23 \l 1033 (Huggins & Izushi, 2011, p. 23). Indeed, many organizational executives want to ensure that the culture of their company remains innovative whereas marketing initiatives reflect the culture. They usually offer rewards as well as rewards when employees are innovative, perhaps through introducing a suggestion system for employees to utilize CITATION Pis15 \l 1033 (Pisano, 2015). They provide the workforce with a particular percentage of time to lay emphasis on certain projects that are beyond their specialty area. They also introduce metrics to realize certain revenue amounts from products their firms produce for several yearsCITATION Doo121 \p 38 \l 1033 (Doole & Lowe, 2012, p. 38). Additionally, the senior management informs the employees that they would receive rewards for risk-taking. When a company adopts an innovative culture, it ends up having innovative marketingCITATION Gil121 \p 56 \l 1033 (Gil-Lafuente & Gil-Lafuente, 2012, p. 56).
In addition, certain firms perceive marketing strategy as similar to marketing innovation. Strategy refers to an amalgamation of creativity as well as quantitative and qualitative analysisCITATION Bre15 \p 59 \l 1033 (Brem & Viardot, 2015, p. 59). The combination assists firms in identifying new openings with consumers and markets, in line with ways of taking competitors share in prevailing markets. However, marketing innovation is beyond new markets or customersCITATION Ban13 \p 22 \l 1033 (Banasiewicz, 2013, p. 22). Moreover, certain organizations regard marketing innovation as a program or campaign in an interactive marketing and multi-channel perspective. They feature in top-rated events or in the incorporation of high-end technologyCITATION Bha111 \p 14 \l 1033 (Bhalla, 2011, p. 14). This practice could result to innovative marketing, although innovative campaign does not serve as marketing innovationCITATION Oba15 \p 101 \l 1033 (Obal, et al., 2015, p. 101).
Marketing serves as a discipline or practice that changes with the underlying knowledge in social sciencesCITATION OBr121 \p 76 \l 1033 (O'Brien, 2012, p. 76). It comprises of micro-economic data, which revolves around behavioral, quantity, and price data, as well as comprehension of human behavior from anthropology, sociology, and psychology perspectivesCITATION Con163 \p 74 \l 1033 (Constanta-Nicoleta, 2016, p. 74). With psychographics, demographics, and social data linked to economic and behavioral data, companies can gain mountains of data today, which would have taken many years to compile and analyze in the pastCITATION Hil14 \p 67 \l 1033 (Hill & Jones, 2014, p. 67). After compiling all the data while utilizing inexpensive storage, power, and development of applications, companies end up being innovative. The data makes it possible to develop marketing science that assists firms determine the amount of products they need given their production capacity and available resourcesCITATION Tan12 \p 81 \l 1033 (Tan, 2012, p. 81). Furthermore, today, it is possible for organizations to gain considerable amounts of data form individuals cellphones using cell tracking, GPS, or check-ins by people, the kinds of searches they undertake, and the transactions they makeCITATION Spo14 \p 16 \l 1033 (Sports, 2014, p. 16). By combining all this data, companies manage to understand consumer behavior allowing them to devise effective strategies for marketingCITATION Rob14 \p 101 \l 1033 (Robinson, 2014, p. 101).
In the case of marketing innovation, it entails the plan for incorporating the advances in marketing technology, science, and engineering to support in increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing, thereby allow firms to realize increased competitive advantage while at the same time boosting the value of stakeholdersCITATION Ree13 \p 54 \l 1033 (Reece, et al., 2013, p. 54). When firms utilize marketing innovation to allow them boost their marketing efforts, they target improving their strategy, communications, research, analysis, and operations CITATION Pan15 \l 1033 (Pantano, 2015). Concerning the value of stakeholders, they aim at improving customer value for a lifetime, grow their engagement, boost their chances of spending positive information concerning the company, and increases chances that clients will share ideas concerning new services and products offered by a certain firmCITATION Pat11 \p 18 \l 1033 (Pattinson, 2011, p. 18).
The role of marketing innovation is not only aimed at increasing revenues, but should also boost experience of customers, which then increases the results and margins that support appropriate utilization of working capitalCITATION Nab14 \p 23 \l 1033 (Nabyla, 2014, p. 23). In this perspective, therefore, it is crucial to consider having an ideal understanding concerning marketing innovation or else companies would encounter challenges in creating effective strategies for marketing innovation strategiesCITATION ODw13 \p 43 \l 1033 (ODwyer, 2013, p. 43). Additionally, based on the notable changes taking place in the marketing world, companies would be at a severe competitive disadvantage in case they fail to incorporate marketing innovation appropriatelyCITATION Nar11 \p 65 \l 1033 (Narayanan, 2011, p. 65). Hence, marketing innovation in the present business environment plays a major role in allowing a company to safeguard its strategic competitive advantage.
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