Doug Garnett’s Blog



Over the course of his career, Doug Garnett has participated in some of the leading innovations of our time. With degrees in mathematics, Doug started in space exploration and defense then explored the microprocessor revolution, visual human-computer interface design and supercomputers before shifting to advertising for consumer products.

Doug’s background has led to unique insights about consumer products and communication. For 25 years he has applied his vision to products ranging from satellite TV to hand tools and patio furniture; from Internet appliances and smart home tech to cookware coatings and automotive chemicals.

Through this work, Doug has discovered three truths about the challenges facing companies generating brand and financial returns on innovative products:

  1. Innovative products aren’t delivering enough ROI power. There is frustration in the C-suite that high innovation investment too often delivers mediocre returns. It’s no surprise. Without specialized marketing of innovation, there’s no hope to get the market impact innovation should deliver.
  2. While innovation literature focuses on the process of invention, it is exceptionally weak when it comes to marketing for that innovation – especially considering consumer markets. Innovation books may lay out the process leading up to product releases, but they leave out the human marketing elements like exploratory consumer research, distribution channels and communication – critical keys to innovation.
  3. Marketing existing products doesn’t teach marketers what should be done for innovative products. The vast majority of work in a marketing department surrounds existing products and refinements to those products. So, when it comes to innovations, too often companies fall back on “business as usual marketing”. The result? The innovations under-deliver in the market. It’s no surprise. Innovative products need unique marketing if they are to drive the return on innovation that they should.

Doug Garnett founded Protonik, LLC in 2018 to help clients increase their innovation ROI with marketing. Prior to founding Protonik, Doug ran Atomic Direct – the ad agency he founded in 1998 which used product based advertising to build brand while selling products in the home, hardware, and automotive markets.

Beyond his blog, Doug writes for a range of publications and speaks to industry audiences about advertising, innovation, and new products. He spent 12 years as an adjunct instructor of general advertising in the School of Business Admin at Portland State University. He is on’s BrainTrust, the BWG Advisory Board, and Response Magazine’s Advisory Board. His first book, “Building Brand with Direct Response Television” was released in 2011.

To book Doug for an industry or company lecture, visit the “Request Lecture” page.


  • Posted: April 1, 2017 08:27

    Robert Clark

    I was surprised by this statement in your blog post from Nov. 2016 on Amazon's Q3 profits: "It also means (as we see with most digital adventures) that Amazon will likely “pivot” at some point (maybe in 3-5 years) and their retail equivalent market will go away – In the meantime, what kind of damage will they do?" Amazon's retail represents the biggest part of their revenue and it's the signature part of their identity. It would be really surprising if they simply decided to forgo that. Have any other analysts suggested they would eliminate that segment of their business? Bob Clark
    • Posted: April 3, 2017 18:46

      Doug Garnett

      Bob - Excellent question and glad I could surprise you. The Wall Street Journal has begun to question how Amazon can continue to lose vast sums of money on the majority of it's revenue. My thought offered in the blog post just takes this the next step. Essentially, in response to the WSJ, Amazon doesn't have too many options. They could seek to reduce that big piece of revenue - but that's not likely a successful strategy. So what they really need to do is find a way to make it profitable. Based on a series of analyses, it does not seem viable for them to make a profit on that chunk of revenue UNLESS they become a primarily brick and mortar company. And, in the months that have passed since I wrote the post, I believe we are seeing them take those steps. Bookstores, convenience stores, local retail outlets... My sense is you think I'm a out on a limb. And you're right - Amazon's phenomenal PR machine has spun quite a story and few are challenging it. But I'm willing to go out on the limb knowing that I'm at least part right. Where they actually end up will be different from what I suggest but ALSO quite different from where Amazon's self-spun mythology tells us. I'm trying to get people to start seriously thinking about Amazon - what's the REAL scoop behind the mythology? Thanks for the question! ...Doug