Now, new and next: Walmart's approach to marketing innovation

Stephen Whiteside

"We think of innovation, and how we allocate our resources, from the standpoint of 'now, new and next,'" Stephen Quinn, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Walmart US, told delegates at the 2013 Masters of Marketing conference, organised by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and held in Phoenix, Arizona.

To implement this philosophy in practice, America's biggest retailer formally commits a significant share of its in-house talent and marketing expenditure to pure experimentation. "We put 70% of our headcount and resources against what's proven, and what's big, and what we know helps the business," Quinn revealed

"We've got 20% that's new, because if you're not doing new, you can't move your business forward. But these are often things that are already proven. And then about 10% of our spending really needs to be against what's next, because otherwise we're just not going to master the things we need for the future," said Quinn.