Stacking the Deck in Favor of Innovation, Part 2
1 of Interview with Dave Siegel, co-author of Innovation: Myths and Mythstakes, Marketing to the New SuperConsumer, and The Great Tween Buying Machine
There are numerous misconceptions about innovation. And there are many "truths" about innovation that are misapplied. These myths and "mythstakes" are costly and should be avoided.
Vern Burkhardt (VB):
"Instilling an entire company with a whole-brained culture can make a profound difference in the way companies meet these challenges." Would you elaborate? (Vern's Note: The challenges relate to the complexities of doing business in a global environment.)
I previously talked about whole-brained – left-brain and right-brain – and imagination and knowledge. You need to look at both things. I don't know if I can elaborate more on that.
It's difficult for one person to use both sides of their brain, but it can be done. You need to have your committees staffed that way; you have to realize how important it is to have both perspectives in business.
The reaction of competitors to the introduction of a new product in the marketplace "could be the most important determining factor of an innovation's ultimate success or failure." Would you explain?
Sure. Man, you've got some good questions!
This conclusion comes from our background. The three of us who co-authored are all ex-marketers, so we know what happens in the real world. We've used that knowledge when providing innovation help for our clients.
The real world demonstrates that you are not operating in a vacuum. You can have a great idea, it may work well, the consumers may want to buy it, and you could manufacture it. But if your competitor is larger, it will probably take the idea away from you, and own the market. So when coming up with an idea, no matter what it is, you have to ask yourself whether you can you own it. Otherwise, even though you do all the work, market the product, and set up the category, a major player such as Kraft, P&G, or another company with a large brand name could decide to also produce the product. And consumers tend to go for the bigger brand names, or for your competitor who is larger and better known. This happens very often in the retail segment in the U.S.
You can have an idea for a new product, and before you know it the retailer who is selling your product is copying you. They get their own brand into the marketplace, give you only one facing on the shelf and dedicate 7 facings on the shelf for their brand, and you're dead!
When I was at P&G a long time ago, Colgate was planning to introduce a concentrated detergent called "Dynamo." They hit the market first, did a great deal of advertising and marketing, and then along came P&G with a concentrated detergent called "ERA". ERA is still on the market but Dynamo is gone.
When I was a Group Products Manager at another company we did the same thing. We had a brand called "Vanish," which was a toilet bowl cleaner, and our competitor at the time had a brand called "Tidy Bowl." Vanish was much bigger than Tidy Bowl. Tidy Bowl was the first toilet bowl cleaner to color the toilet bowl water green. Consumers liked it – they liked green toilet bowl water. So I copied them and we launched Vanish green, and Tidy Bowl was taken off the shelf.
Smaller companies may be more nimble and creative than larger ones.
You can be nimble but you must also think about how you are going to protect. Think about what your competitors are likely to know and what they are not likely to do. Sometimes they can't do something because of capacity or because of their business philosophy. For instance, in some categories some companies will not do a kids' product. In this case you could develop and introduce to the marketplace a kids' product for another food company because you know the big firm isn't going to do it.
Sometimes it is purely how do you make your product unique? It's not good enough to have a product that's new; the question is how are you going to be so unique that you can't be touched? Maybe it's in your name; maybe it's in a license. If I was doing a kids' product and could put "Sponge Bob" on it, no competitor would be able to touch me. With that type of brand name I'm solid even if a bigger company tries to come after me.
Or be nimble, as you said. I'm doing something now with a small company in a different country, and I know if we're successful the big players will come after us. Before they get around to it we'll have our second product ready, then our third product, and our line extensions. You can bet they'll be chasing us, and if we just sit on our backsides we'll enjoy success for maybe 30 days.
If you're out in front it's easier to stay in front?
Yes, but you had better have that mentality.
The first question we ask people when we're looking at their marketing plans is, "What's new?" If there's nothing new in it, you're dead. So many marketing plans we look at are nice but of no value in terms of using innovation for success and growth.
Not only will your competition steal your ideas, consumers today tend to get bored. They want to know, "What's your new flavor?" "What else have you got?" A lot of people, especially younger consumers and retailers too, are attracted to new items. The good news is that if your products are new, they will try them – the bad news is that subsequently they'll try the next new thing and the next. Companies have to continue innovating.
So you had better always be the "next new."
Yes. The next new may not be something dramatically new, just "new enough." Maybe it's a new promotion, a new price offering, a new size, a new claim, or a new smell. It just has to be something new to keep your competitor chasing you.
You say, "…if you are first to market, you should try thinking like someone who has entered the market second." Why?
Because the guy who has come in second is going to try to get your business. What are you going to do to try to protect it? If the guy coming in second is bigger, you had better think about it and pay attention.
"Being third to market is being first to the graveyard."
Yes. There is no third anymore. That's because retailers, at least in a strong market, will keep your product on their shelves if you're number one, and they may keep you if you're number two, but not if you're number three. Their return on investment is low for third party products so they'll put their own brand into the marketplace. As number three you're too small to stay around, especially given all the different new products being developed and marketed. If you're third to market some retailers may take your money and give you some shelf space for 30 days, but most likely they'll knock you off because you won't have enough velocity.
The only exception is if you're a behemoth. If you're Coca Cola, Kraft, or P&G, even if your product is third, you've got brand recognition, spending and distribution power, and consumer cache.
Imagine I have the first ever detergent offering consumers the benefit that, once washed, their clothes will stay clean forever! That would be a big innovation and should be successful in the marketplace. The Dave Siegel Company makes this great claim when the detergent is introduced into the marketplace and I manage to achieve some distribution through retailers. Then along comes Lever with a similar product under the name "Wisk" or whatever their brand is going to be, and all consumers are going to buy their product instead of mine. If P&G also puts a similar product under its Tide band, then Dave Siegel Company's product ceases to exist in the marketplace.
Do these principals apply to services or any other innovations in addition to products?
Oh, for sure. To me, a service is a product. You have to merchandise your services in a way that allows consumers to understand the benefits you offer.
Look at what credit card companies and banks have been doing lately. We are working with a major bank to innovate something related to their business-to-business services, and the same principles and procedures are involved. You have to look at the consumer world, which in this case happens to be a corporate buyer, your own world, and also the visionary world. You come up with insights for the corporation on business-to-business services – maybe it's a new payment plan. The businesses you're serving may benefit from a bundle of services, such as your basic services and personal or corporate insurance.
Another banking example, this time with consumers, might be bundling checking account and travel agency services. The service offering might be such that the more checks you write, the more points you receive, and the more points you obtain, the more frequent flyer miles you earn. Even though it's a bank the service is frequent flyer miles. It doesn't have to be purchases on your credit card. It could be from writing checks, using your ATM card, or for any other basic banking services. I may have just come up with a pretty good idea!
You say, "it is emotion – not logic – that makes consumers' hearts race, and cash registers pump faster." You also say "…we all buy things for basically two reasons: to solve problems we have, or to make us feel good." Would you talk about the implications of these observations for innovation and new product development?
It depends on what you describe as a problem. A lot of problems are emotional – these are the problems where you just want or need something, or to feel something.
A lot of innovations actually bring on problems. Before the iPhone, nobody needed iPhone applications. Now, if you buy an iPhone, you're dying to download all the applications you can into it. You have a problem if you're not using these "apps" enough.
Innovation has got to satisfy a basic need, and awareness of those needs comes from insights. A need could be emotional or physical.
It could be you don't have a problem, just a feeling of a need for a change, and buying something satisfies that perceived need.
Absolutely. It's called "midlife crisis" for a lot of guys and gals!
People also reward themselves with things that are new. We have a need for reward.
"Innovations that are truly game changing are usually birthed by a collision of different ideas and domains that are not usually thought of as belonging together. For this to happen, diverse people with disparate experiences and backgrounds need to connect." How will we know when we have the best mix of diverse people on an innovation project or team?
You'll never know; it's an art. You want to make sure you have a good blend, meaning logical and imaginative thinkers, and people from enough different disciplines of study or work specialties. For instance, it wouldn't hurt to have on your team representatives from those who are going to have to make the item, market and sell it, and probably a financial person as well. That would likely be a good blend, but you don't ever know for sure. If you could know when you have the best team it would be magical.
It might also be useful to have on the innovation team somebody who doesn't know anything at all about the topic, who can ask the "dumb" questions, or the questions that force people to clarify their thinking?
That's a very important factor. Yes, you want some outsiders involved. That's why some companies hire consultants – we're the outsiders. We don't know what can't be done so we might ask questions that people in the company won't because they "know better", but in knowing better they may miss some key insights. Another alternative is to involve people from different departments inside the company or who work with a different brand. To perform this role you don't want somebody who is biased by the past, or by what is.
A long time ago we were developing new products for Totes Umbrellas. The best idea came from our receptionist. You never know when an outsider will contribute a breakthrough innovation idea.
"When it comes to finding new and different solutions, you must consider taking advantage of the new and different opinions, experiences and techniques that experts outside your company can bring." Would you talk about strategies such as using outside inventors, innovation consultants, and Open Innovation?
The more sources and stimuli you have, the more opportunities to find something great.
The big benefit of using outsiders is they're not biased. It's a much more objective and subjective way to look at things. They don't know what you've tried and failed before, and maybe there's a reason you failed that they could identify. It may have been a good idea, but you did something wrong. You would never recognize it because you're on the inside.
As for innovation or open source from inventors, it's the same thing. There are only so many things you can afford to have invented inside your company. But you've got access to hundreds of thousands of inventors around the world so why not tap into them? A.G. Lafley knew that at Procter & Gamble.
It's a happy world for everyone. Having worked with inventors, I came to realize that they can invent but they can't market. In turn, marketers can market but they can't invent. By doing something together everyone wins.
My background before being involved with innovation included marketing toys. From a marketing standpoint, I saw the benefit of invention. Toy companies need to innovate! Most toy companies turn over about 80% to 90% of their product line every year, because toys have to be new to get attention in the marketplace. To accomplish this incredible pace of innovation most toy companies go to outside inventors. They were way ahead of most other industries in realizing that the best ideas came from outside their own company. The toy companies had their own internal R&D people, but also had their doors open for the right inventors who did nothing but invent. The toy companies' expertise is superior marketing, superior advertising, managing inventory, and handling manufacturing processes.
They also have to have the logistics "know-how", don't they?
Yes, and how. I see a lot of companies around the world in different sectors that have nice ideas, but they don't know what to do with them. They don't know how to market the ideas, especially to break into and be successful in the U.S. market.
"It may be hard for some to believe, but new product ideation in the hands of those who have done it frequently, is not too dissimilar from joke-writers never running out of new jokes, song-writers always coming up with the next song, or novelists and poets creating newer and better works. The more experience you have with something, the better you generally get at executing it." Does this mean organizations should include experience with innovation as a key criterion in hiring decisions? Will these increasingly become marketable skills?
Innovation is becoming much more important, because the only way to get out of a bad situation or to grow, is to change. It is definitely a marketable skill. A lot of companies are looking for innovation, and it isn't creating opportunities only for consultants. There are relatively new positions being created in private sector and government organizations called "Chief Innovation Officer."
Whether innovation experience should be a key criterion in hiring decisions depends on the position. If you want a brand manager then management acumen would be the most important set of skills, and managing is not necessarily the same as innovating. It's important for companies to have innovative thinkers, perhaps even an innovation department or a Chief Innovation Officer who possesses the requisite skills and experience.
President Obama stated during his election campaign that he was going to be looking for a Chief Innovation Officer. The appointment of Aneesh Chopra as the first National Chief Technology Officer will elevate the role of innovation in the Obama Administration. This is likely going to heighten the importance of innovation as a skill, at least in the U.S.
Innovation is a hot word. Is it a trendy word?
I hope it's not trendy. I think it's hot because the world now sees the need to change.
If you do a Google search for innovation, you will get so many articles. Look at all the innovation books that have been written; our books are certainly not the only ones!
Almost all the companies we visit have posted in their lobbies, "We are innovative." They may not be, but they'll say it anyway. But the need for innovation is here to stay – you're going to have to grow or you'll die. The big change is that companies are generating more products at a faster pace, which means if you don't do the same you're going to lose your market to your competitor.
Also, we have innovation competition worldwide, which is a big game-changer.
Yes, open innovation is enabled by better communication. Not only will companies loose their markets if they are not innovative, but countries also are afraid of losing their markets if they are not innovative enough. Workers have become a commodity in many areas of the U.S. and in other countries as a result of the outsourcing of a lot of work. If you have a commodity, you go to low cost.
The only way to create employment and a sustaining business model is to innovate and have products and services that the world wants. If you're not innovative, good luck! In the U.S. we have lost our innovation lead.
It requires an educational system and a culture that enables innovation.
Yes, many colleges are starting to offer innovation courses. This is relatively new. I'm on the board of a college that's finally offering innovation courses, and they are very much needed.
Up until now, innovation primarily meant R&D, meaning the sciences and technology. But innovation now requires a different way of thinking. One of the colleges starting to include innovation in its studies is Xavier University in Ohio. I predict there'll be increasing numbers of innovation courses at many other universities over the next few years.
Would you talk about another of your myths – "you don't need a process to innovate?"
Of course you need process. Every company has to develop its own process that fits its environment.
Unless there is a process nobody is going to be actively innovating. Innovation involves risk since it requires time and money. Everyone will say they innovate, but without a process things don't get done, or if they are done they are done with an unbelievable waste of money. Or people have good intentions to innovate if they ever get the time.
Without a process there are problems even if you have an entrepreneurial culture. Every time we walk into an organization with a highly entrepreneurial culture, we find there are many people doing exactly the same thing in different departments. This wastes money. You need a process that brings people from different areas together; has time lines; and has clear accountabilities.
"Some audiences aren't worth pleasing. In fact, it can be wonderful to forget one audience while simply creating a new audience entirely and enjoying it all to yourself." Isn't this a high-risk strategy?
Yes, it is very high-risk unless you've got a major innovation that will enable you to engage in this type of radical business strategy. You don't want to become so enamored with change that you forget what your brand and company stands for, what your market is, and who your customers are. Otherwise, you could die in the process of changing.
In most cases you won't want to target a new market or new set of consumers and forget your current customer base. Depending on your business strategy, in most cases a good blend would be to grow by adding a new consumer base while aiming to keep your current customers as your base revenue. The exception would be if your existing customers aren't generating sufficient revenue anymore.
One of the Mythstakes you identify is that crowdsourcing delivers great ideas on the cheap. Would you talk about this?
We have not found a company that's been happy with their crowdsourcing attempts even though we often read that crowdsourcing is an inexpensive and effective way of generating ideas.
Our experience has been that most companies don't know how to crowdsource to come up with new ideas. Also, when they do try they quickly find out that many of the ideas they receive are not helpful, because the people who are coming up with them don't have the necessary background and information. This leads companies to ignore the ideas they receive and not give the crowd sufficient feedback, which then discourages the crowd so fewer ideas are offered – it's a vicious cycle.
There are ways to obtain better ideas from the crowd. One way is to tell consumers or whoever is the crowd what type of ideas you're looking for and provide some parameters so the ideas offered will be somewhat on target.
Another was "Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door." And yet it's not necessarily the better mousetrap that gets the mouse.
Communication is so important. The best idea in the world is going to die if nobody knows about it, or if you explain it in the wrong way.
A lot of times you'll see a new product introduced into the marketplace, and the wrong things are emphasized. It makes you think an R&D person must have got hold of the marketing campaign and said, "Here's what we want to say." It is possibly a superior product, but you think to yourself, "No, I don't I want to put fish eyes into my mouth today." Or, "I'm not going to nibble on fish-eyed cheese, I don't care how much better it is! Call it something else!"
A long time ago we worked with Elmer's Products, Inc. here in the U.S. They had a product, which at that time, they called a "glue stick". It was colored glue filled with sparkles, and kids were able to use it for doing artwork. They could squeeze it out of a tube, it looked good, but because of the name "glue stick" not many people bought it. We were considering why sales were so low and all of a sudden someone said, "Wait a second. It sounds disgusting. Mom's are afraid that their kids are going to sniff glue and glue is messy." The company's representative said, "But it is, it's glue!" Our advice was, "You care that it's glue. The consumer doesn't. Let's reposition and rename it." The same product was re-launched as "3D Paint Pens." It was raised up from the paper so it looked 3D. Kids would think it was paint because it was in color, and the dispenser looked more like a pen than a glue holder. We renamed and repositioned the product, and all of a sudden it flew off the shelves. It became an entire line for Elmer's Products, Inc. I think sales went from 2 million dollars to something like 30 or 40 million dollars a year, just as a result of how the product was presented. It was a good "mouse-trap", but nobody wanted to buy a "glue stick."
"There's no such thing as too much innovation." Another myth?
Innovation takes time and money so you have to choose exactly how much of both you're going to spend on it.
The risk of too much innovation activity is that a company can dilute its investment to the point where it doesn't have sufficient resources to put behind one great idea. It is just as bad as too little innovation. If a company dedicates a little time and money to a lot of ideas it's hard to make any one of them successful.
Focusing on too much innovation is a bit like setting a target. If your target is to develop 10 products this year no matter what, you will tend to come up with easier products rather than the one big, radical idea. If they are easier little-idea products, the ramifications are terrible. Although there's a lot of money going into innovation and product development, you're not going to get a high return on investment through product sales. Also your distribution network will be dissatisfied. Your retailers will look at your new product introductions and say, "What, another flavor?" "Another size?" "There's no room on the shelves for another color." "Come on, give me something really new!"
Innovation leaders should have curiosity, balance, be a maverick, and get the numbers. Would you talk about these traits?
It's the same thing. Left-brain, right-brain, knowledge, and imagination.
"…Innovate & Live!" Are business and government leaders hearing your advice?
I think so. I doubt they are hearing my call; they're feeling the pressure and realizing they're going to have to change or they are going to lose their markets.
There are more annual corporate reports saying there's going to be more of a focus on innovation. Most articles by businesses are saying, "We're innovative and here's all the things that we are doing to push for innovation." The stock market is rewarding companies that not only claim but also actually are doing new, innovative things.
The only thing that's going to get the world out of its major recession is the creation of new opportunities. Where are these new opportunities going to come from? Not from doing the same thing over and over again. It has to be from creating new industries. Just think of any new industry, and what it's done for business and revenue generation. Think of what happened when the Internet hit. The rate of creation of new jobs went ballistic! Another example is people are starting to come up with new ways to generate energy. A huge number of jobs will be generated.
If you're not creating "new," you're not going to create new opportunities, new jobs, and economically we're going to die.
Be innovative, don't just say you are being innovative.
You'd better do it. Talk's cheap.
Another of my favorite myths is "Great Ideas Will Make You Rich." No, they won't! Generating great ideas is important, but unless you execute them these ideas are just creativity. Innovation is the application of those great ideas – otherwise the ideas are useless.
This is one of the biggest problems I see with innovation, and I used to be guilty of it. I probably still am somewhat guilty of it. It's not hard to come up with a good idea. People come up with them all the time, but they don't do anything with them.
I can't tell you how many times I say, and even my wife will say something like, "Man, look at that. I previously thought of that idea. Doggone it, I should be the rich one!" Of course, we're not rich because we didn't put the money up for it. We just had the idea. The rest of the innovation process is what carries the big costs and risks. The entrepreneurs are the people who decide to take these risks. They're the ones who put the money up front for research and design, marketing, manufacturing, holding inventory, sales, and all the other aspects of the innovation process. That's the big risk. Those entrepreneurs are the people who have a lot to lose and should make the money, if the idea is marketable.
The idea person is worth something. You need a good idea to start the innovation process, but it's not everything. In fact, the worst thing about an idea is that people tend to stop at the idea stage. You come up with an idea, like we did earlier in this interview about using bank checks, credit cards, ATM cards, and whatever for frequent flier miles. It's probably a good idea, but am I going to do anything with it right now? No, I just patted myself on the back and said, "Hey, I came up with a great idea today! I'm going to have a drink and celebrate and go on to the next big idea." Someone else might take up that idea and make a billion dollars.
So, entrepreneurialism equals innovation.
Entrepreneurialism requires innovation, but it has to be more than that. True innovation is bringing something to the marketplace. It's something new you bring to market that grows the business. If you do all that that entails, it's being entrepreneurial.
It seems a lot of people think that innovation is just coming up with something new. The entrepreneur is somebody who takes the risk. Somebody who takes something new and does something with the idea by investing money, putting in lot's of time, and loosing a house and perhaps even a marriage. That's the entrepreneurial spirit needed to succeed.
Even in big corporations you find the entrepreneur who is willing to risk his or her job to get something done. The average worker, who isn't an entrepreneur in spirit, isn't going to take that risk, to fight the corporate culture and really believe in and push an idea. I know of situations, and you often read about them, where somebody has come up with an idea and had to leave the company they worked for. The company didn't believe in their idea so they quit their job, started a company, and developed the idea. Sometimes it works; unfortunately sometimes it doesn't! But that's the nature of innovation and entrepreneurialism.
I'm always surprised when I read examples of how large organizations, including large businesses, have a built-in structure that inhibits and discourages innovation. To discourage new, creative ideas from being generated by having difficult processes in place – such as requiring the creator of the idea to justify the idea with a complex business case. The need for iron-clad justification tends to discourage creativity, does it not?
Very much so. Earlier we talked about companies' aversion to risk. But do you know what? There is no way to prove that something is innovative. If it's truly innovative there's little history because it's brand new. You can explain why it should work and why it could work, but you can't prove that it will work.
The old P&G was that way when I worked there. Unless you could prove an idea would work, they weren't going to develop it. Too many companies' research and innovation processes are set up like that. Like you said, too often business case studies are required to prove an idea's worth.
Innovation is not a "fly by the seat of your pants" activity. But it shouldn't always be shackled by the need for heavy research to explain why an idea will work. Research is valuable to improve your odds of success, but that's all it does – it improves your odds. If you rely too much on research to ensure certainty, it kills your odds.
Have business and government leaders in the U.S. taken the Pledge of Innovation? (Vern's note: The pledge in Innovation: Myths and Mythstakes
is "I promise to…Not be scared. To Value execution as well as ideas. To encourage and champion the change-makers. To protect against silos and turfwars at all times. To train my staff to be knowledgeable and imaginable. To never, ever, rest on our laurels. And to set myself straight on the myths of innovation!")
Many have taken the Pledge of Innovation. The question is whether they'll adhere to it!
It seems more business leaders are taking up the Pledge. I don't think they have an alternative. We need change to create jobs, and jobs generate money and demand for goods and services. When you stop innovation, you stop job growth. It's what stymied the world, and certainly the U.S. We became too interested in short-term gains in the stock market.
This is not being political, but President Obama seems to be trying to innovate. He campaigned on that platform – his platform was change. The government is beginning to try to innovate. They're certainly putting money up to bring about change, to try to foster innovation. Even here in the State of Ohio we have funding and grants for companies that can innovate, create jobs, and sell products out of state.
Do you have a sense business and government leaders world-wide are also focusing on innovation – perhaps taking up the Pledge of Innovation?
Yes, I do. I get that sense from reading articles, watching the media and talking to business leaders. Many governments such as the European Union, Australia, Israel, China, India, and other parts of Asia are stressing the need for innovation and are providing money for innovation. Another example is Malaysia, which has a fund that provides assistance to any company that can innovate and sell products abroad.
Countries all over the world need jobs and their economies to grow – so they have to innovate. The only alternative is to become a low-cost producer, but eventually someone else is going to be lower cost than you. You are either going to grow because you have the lowest price, which you don't want because of low margins and high risk, or you are going to grow because you have a service, product, or technology that the world wants.
Are there any other questions that I should have asked you?
You have asked me more questions than I have ever been asked, even more than my wife!
Thank you. It's been a pleasure talking to a former New Yorker living in Ohio! We wish you and LaunchForce continued success.
Dave Siegel and his co-authors debunk many myths and reveal "mythstakes" about innovation. And in the process they provide a wealth of insights about innovation processes, even though the title of their book is a ton of fun tongue twisters!
"So while companies realize that they must innovate, it is totally understandable how tempting it is to put it on the back-burner and do so only when it is desperately needed." "...it is appropriate to only innovate when needed, but it is actually needed all of the time."
They advise that while permitting "top, unbiased creativity and reasonable speed" a company's "innovation process should ensure:
Dave Siegel's Bio:
- Searching for and uncovering real opportunities.
- Good quality, prolific, problem-solving ideation.
- Proper screening of ideas based on consumer and business needs.
- Appropriate checkpoints used throughout to minimize mistakes and promote ROI.
- Flexibility to take advantage of the unforeseen.
- Diversity of thinking.
- Due diligence in business/marketing planning.
- Continued communication between all relevant departments."
Upon earning a Masters in Business Administration, Dave Siegel joined Procter and Gamble, and worked with the marketing team that launched the new liquid detergent product ERA. He subsequently worked for Cadbury-Schweppes and Bristol-Myers, where he launched many innovative products into the marketplace. Siegel created and managed Young & Rubicam's International kid marketing consultancy – SmallTalk. He subsequently co-founded and was President of the WonderGroup advertising agency and, after 10 years, became a Managing Partner and the President of LaunchForce
, WonderGroup's Insight and Innovation Division.
Dave Siegel became one of the first consumer marketers to realize the potential of marketing to kids and has spent the past 30 years immersed in youth and family marketing, advising some of the country's top corporations in such fields as food and beverage, household cleaning products, health and beauty aids, toys, entertainment, clothing, and retailing.
Siegel is a well-quoted author and speaker. He has spoken and/or keynoted kid-marketing conferences in Singapore, Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, France and the Netherlands. He is a Gold Effie winner for his work on introducing and marketing the world's most successful leisure product of the 90's—the Super Soaker.
Dave Siegel is the co-author with Tim Coffey and Mark Smith of Innovation: Myths and Mythstakes
(2009), and co-author with Timothy Coffey and Gregory Livingston of Marketing to the New SuperConsumer: Mom & Kid
(2005) and The Great Tween Buying Machine: Capturing Your Share of the Multi-Billion-Dollar Tween Market