You don't need an idea to start a business

Marketing Driven Innovation

by Francisco Santolo

What I find inspiring about Business is its immense potential to transform things, to change realities.

While growing in our career we learn powerful principles that can lead to transformation. It does not matter if you are an Analyst, a Trainee, a VP or an Owner, we all hold certain principles that are effective for us. And the wonderful thing is that they can be shared, they can be learned.

Marketing Driven Innovation

We never end learning, and sources are unlimited (inspiring leaders, terrible leaders, peers, teams, formal education, courses, books, social media, and of course, your own experience, your curiosity, experimentation, challenges, achievements and failures).

In my last post, I shared what I believe are effective principles for Networking and Entrepreneurship and some resources I find extremely useful. I never imagined I would receive so many comments and messages, and learn so much from posting! I´m really grateful.

I enjoyed it so much that I decided to do it again! This time I will focus on the incredible transforming potential of Marketing and share one key principle in a simple way:

Marketing needs to work transversally and totally integrated with all areas of the company to achieve extraordinary results. As a Marketing Executive, one of your main goals should be to install this mindset and involve people.

To start, I would like to click to watch one of my favorite Marketing Campaign´s ever

What do you think? This campaign by McCann Erickson Romania won two Grand Prix Cannes Lions in 2011.

Results were impressive. Within two weeks:

  • The advertising campaign reached 67% of the Romanians
  • The campaign resulted in €300,000 worth of free media
  • ROM became Romania´s most popular chocolate bar with 79% in Market Share.
  • McCann´s Adrian Botan, Creative Director at that time and now Global Executive Creative Director, reminds how negative comments were met with delight over the first week! “The account director was calling me and saying, ‘Wow, excellent, we have thousands of negative comments. That’s exactly what we were looking for.”

Now. Stop for a minute. Can you imagine this? Considering your work experience till now, I invite you to recreate these situations in your mind:


  • The Marketing Director proposing the Campaign to the CEO and owner
  • After approved, the communication process to the different areas (e.g. Sales, Finance, Trade Marketing, Operations)
  • The process of organizing the whole company for this campaign (with the uncertainty and the risks involved)
  • The day before as an employee (anxiety, fear, expectations?)
  • Working in the company during the first week, when negative comments flooded social media.
  • The amazing feeling the employees must have had after the success of the campaign.

Can you perceive the complexity? The risks involved? Do you imagine the salesman convincing the stores to buy the American Flag ROM in the first place? And Operations, trying to decide how much to produce? What about confidentiality? How to assure that no one would talk about the joke before time?

My point is simple: Creativity is extremely powerful. Ideas transform the world. But to approve this Campaign, and for it to be successful you need between other things:

  • Talented People aligned and believing in the action (ownership)
  • Integration between areas (Operations, Sales, Marketing, Human Resources, etc)
  • Clear Communication
  • Clear Processes, Roles and Responsibilities
  • Incentives and targets
  • Market research, analysis, scenarios, expected return
  • Detailed plan contemplating contingencies
  • Clear decision Process in front of contingencies
  • Excellent implementation
  • High quality suppliers

You can achieve incredible transformations through Marketing! You can invent an effective action for almost any goal, and that is what I love about it!

But for it to be effective you need much more! You maximize the chances of “going viral” when you combine a great idea (backed up by research and analysis), a clear strategy, incredible planning integrating all the areas, and focus on execution!

If you don´t believe me, see how McCann Erickson and ROM went Viral again only some years later! With a different idea, but continuing with “national pride” platform. I admire them deeply. 

By clicking here you will access the video

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