Innovation is a loaded term. On the surface, the idea of creativity, new ideas and an ever-evolving culture of change is great. Trouble arises, though, when people become enamored with the idea of innovation rather than actually executing the idea.

During The CMO Club’s August Roundtable Discussion in Seattle, members talked about how to create an innovative environment without losing sight of process and execution.

The Innovation Infatuation 

Companies are constantly applauded for their innovative ideas and fresh marketing strategies. Whole campaigns have been built on the idea of ‘winning’ in the realm of innovation. After all, the best ideas are the ones that go viral, garner millions of online views, boost sales and win marketing awards, right?

This is true, but only because these ideas have actually been executed. Execution is the vehicle that delivers innovative ideas to your consumers. Marketers need to be able to look past infatuation with an idea and remember that successfully seeing the idea to fruition is the real win.

And then what? More innovation – another idea? Customers, businesses and competitors evolve at a pace where it’s more important to be fast than right. It’s exhausting to continuously think up new ideas, just to have them be old news by tomorrow.

That is why it is so important that CMOs don’t chase every shiny object they see, only putting into action ideas that truly move the brand forward.

Identify Worthy Ideas

A challenge CMOs face everyday is sorting through the many ideas that come across their desks.

Innovation needs to be about prioritization. What moves the needle forward? Is it scalable? Marketers have to use intuition, data and math to choose the ideas that are worthy of execution.

Stay focused by ultimately taking it back to customer experience – will this improve the customers’ experience? If yes, then brainstorm with your team about how to execute the idea. If not, keep looking.

CMOs should also think about innovating into the process or culture, so the idea can be re-iterated after the initial execution.

Our Seattle CMOs agreed that, at the end of the day, execution trumps innovation. But that doesn’t mean dooming your brand to lackluster marketing.

Finding that balance simply requires fostering a culture of innovation, while keeping your marketing team focused on taking action.