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TRIZ method: Is it possible to apply it to digital marketing?

triz digital marketing application
TRIZ method: Is it possible to apply it to digital marketing?

The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ) was developed to assist engineers in creatively solving complex problems. Can TRIZ also be applied to digital marketing? Probably yes, let's see how.

Table of Contents:

Origin of the TRIZ theory and key elements

TRIZ is an acronym for "Theory of Inventive Problem Solving" (from the Russian Teoriya Resheniya Izobretatelskikh Zadatch). This method—developed by Soviet engineer and scientist Genrich Altshuller and his colleagues starting in 1946—is based on the idea that the creation of innovative solutions can be systematized through the analysis of patents that have solved problems in creative ways.

The TRIZ approach to problem solving involves a phase of abstraction that allows moving from the specific problem to the generic one in order to identify the generic solution and then proceed with applying it to the specific starting problem. The following diagram can aid in understanding:


TRIZ includes a set of principles, patterns, and techniques to help engineers and inventors solve complex problems without reinventing existing solutions. Here are some of the key elements of TRIZ:

  1. Inventive principles: TRIZ lists 40 general innovation principles that can be used to overcome technical contradictions, such as increasing the speed of a process while simultaneously reducing its cost.

  2. Contradiction matrix: a tool that helps identify the most suitable solution for a specific contradiction by referencing the inventive principles.

  3. Laws of the evolution of technical systems: TRIZ also describes patterns for predicting the future development stages of a product or a technological process.

  4. Functional analysis: analysis of the system to understand all the functional interactions among the components of the system itself.

Today, TRIZ is used in various sectors, including engineering, product design, and innovation management, to develop creative and effective solutions to existing problems.

Applying TRIZ to digital marketing

Despite its "engineering" origins, I believe that the TRIZ method can be adapted and applied to digital marketing. Indeed, TRIZ's systematic and principle-based approach makes it useful in any field that requires innovative solutions, including digital marketing. Here are some ways in which the key elements of TRIZ could be utilized in digital marketing:

  1. Inventive principles: these can inspire creative solutions to common marketing problems, such as finding new ways to increase customer engagement or optimizing advertising campaigns to maximize ROI.
  2. Resolution of contradictions: in digital marketing, contradictions often arise, such as the desire to personalize content for the user while maintaining a broad reach. Using TRIZ's contradiction matrix, marketers can find creative principles that help resolve these contradictions without compromise.
  3. Forecasting evolutions: the laws of the evolution of technical systems in TRIZ can help marketers anticipate future trends in consumer behavior or technologies, allowing them to be proactive rather than reactive.
  4. Functional analysis: this tool can help map all the interactions between different elements of a marketing campaign, identifying inefficiencies or opportunities for improvements or innovations.

By applying TRIZ, digital marketing professionals can not only solve existing problems in unconventional ways but also stimulate proactive and innovative thinking in their marketing strategy.

Let's see how each of these four tools can be employed.

Inventive principles


Within the context of digital marketing, many of the 40 inventive principles of TRIZ can be reinterpreted and applied creatively to solve problems, enhance strategies, and drive innovation. Here are some principles I find particularly relevant:

  • Segmentation: divide the target market into smaller segments to personalize campaigns and increase the relevance of the message for each group.

  • Local Quality: tailor marketing campaigns to meet local or regional needs, or customize campaigns based on the behavior of specific users.

  • Combination: merge data from different sources (such as behavioral, demographic, and purchase data) to create a more comprehensive view of the customer and improve the accuracy of campaigns.

  • Universality: create content or marketing tools that can be used across different platforms or for various purposes, like an app that serves both as a sales tool and a customer service utility.

  • Anti-weighting: use lightweight content or micro-moments to counter the information overload consumers often experience, making interactions more enjoyable and less intrusive.

  • Dynamization: adapt campaigns in real-time based on user feedback and interactions, making them more flexible and responsive.

  • Use of periodic phenomena: leverage recurring or seasonal events to create campaigns that are relevant and timely, maximizing effectiveness at specific moments.

  • Feedback: implement feedback systems where user data directly influences future campaigns, enhancing effectiveness through continuous learning.

  • Copying: observe and apply successful strategies used in other sectors or markets to one's own context, adapting them to meet specific needs.

  • Change of physical-chemical parameters: though more metaphorical, in digital marketing this principle can be interpreted as changing the "tone" or "style" of a campaign to better suit its audience or context

  • Composite Materials: integrate different forms of content (text, video, interactive graphics) to create richer and more engaging campaigns that exploit the strengths of each format.

The application of these principles in digital marketing can lead to innovative solutions and significantly enhance the effectiveness of marketing strategies.

Let's now move to the contradiction matrix.

Resolution of contradictions


The TRIZ Contradiction Matrix helps identify specific solutions to overcome contradictions without compromise, finding the right balance between conflicting parameters. Here's how you might employ this tool in the realm of digital marketing:

Steps to use the contradiction matrix in digital marketing

  1. Identification of Contradictions: first, it is necessary to clearly define which contradiction you want to solve. In digital marketing, a common contradiction might be, for example, increasing the personalization of campaigns without sacrificing user privacy.

  2. Definition of Parameters: identify the parameters that are in conflict. In the example of personalization and privacy, the improved parameter could be "targeting accuracy," while the worsened parameter could be "security of personal information."

  3. Application of the Matrix: use the matrix to find the TRIZ principles that correspond to the identified parameters. The matrix consists of a grid with 39 technical parameters. Each intersection in the matrix suggests one or more of the 40 inventive principles to resolve the contradiction without compromise.

  4. Exploration of Suggested Principles: examine the principles suggested by the matrix and reflect on how they can be applied to your specific situation. For instance, the principle of "Feedback" might suggest ways to dynamically use user data to personalize campaigns while respecting their privacy through transparency and control.

  5. Creative Implementation: apply the principles in ways that are innovative and practical for your specific digital marketing context. This might involve developing new technologies, adopting innovative strategies, or modifying existing processes.

Practical example

Let's suppose you want to resolve the contradiction between "increasing user engagement" and "reducing the annoyance caused by frequent notifications". By using the contradiction matrix, you might identify principles such as:

  • Segmentation (Principle 1): personalize notifications based on user segments, sending messages only when they are most relevant to each segment.
  • Dynamization (Principle 15): adjust the frequency of notifications based on the user's interaction with previous notifications.
  • Feedback (Principle 23): use direct user feedback to optimize the frequency and content of the notifications.

Advantages of Using the Matrix

The use of the Contradiction Matrix in digital marketing can help to:

  • Innovate Systematically: it provides a structured approach to innovation, reducing randomness in the creative process.
  • Overcome Dilemmas: it allows for finding balanced solutions that overcome dilemmas without sacrificing important marketing objectives.
  • Improve Efficiency: it encourages efficiency by optimizing campaigns based on specific parameters without compromising other crucial aspects


Using tools like the Contradiction Matrix can thus transform the way you tackle challenges in digital marketing, leading to more effective and innovative solutions.

Let's move into the area of forecasting.

Forecasting evolutions


The Laws of the Evolution of Technical Systems in TRIZ can also be very useful in digital marketing, allowing for the anticipation of trends and changes in how consumers interact with digital media and technologies. These laws help to understand how systems evolve over time, providing insights to predict future directions in product development and marketing strategies. Here's how you might apply them:

Laws of the evolution of technical systems in digital marketing

  1. Increase in Systematization: technical systems tend to evolve towards more integrated and systematized organizations. In digital marketing, this can translate into the increasing use of integrated platforms that connect CRM, data analytics, marketing automation, and multi-channel campaigns, providing a more cohesive and powerful marketing ecosystem

  2. Increase in Adaptability: systems evolve to become more adaptable to their operating conditions. For digital marketing, this means developing campaigns and content that dynamically adapt to user behavior, the devices used, and the contexts in which content is consumed.

  3. Increase in Dynamism and Controllability: systems evolve towards greater mobility and control. In the context of digital marketing, this can be seen in the use of technologies such as artificial intelligence or machine learning to make campaigns more responsive and personalized in real-time, thus improving control over outcomes.

  4. Transition from Macro to Micro Level: systems move from operating at a macro level to operating at a micro level. In digital marketing, this is reflected in the increase of micro-targeting and hyper-localized marketing, where actions are increasingly specific and focused on small groups of users or even on individuals.

  5. Increase in the Use of Field Energies: systems evolve by exploiting energy fields for better control and efficiency. In digital marketing, this can be interpreted as the use of data (an "information field") to automate and optimize marketing decisions, thereby reducing dependence on human intervention and improving the efficiency of campaigns.

Practical application

Let's suppose you want to use these laws to anticipate future trends in digital marketing:

  • Evaluate your technological platform: ensure it is sufficiently integrated and adaptable to support a rapidly changing marketing environment. Consider investing in solutions that offer better integration and control, such as unified marketing platforms that directly link consumer data, analytics, and campaign execution.

  • Develop data-driven strategies: increase the use of predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to make your campaigns more responsive and personalized, using data to predict and react to user behaviors in real-time.

  • Experiment with new formats: explore ways to engage consumers at the micro level, such as personalized campaigns that adapt to the individual user's context and emerging technologies that enable richer and more immersive interactions.


Using the Laws of the Evolution of Technical Systems in digital marketing can provide a proactive vision, helping you to anticipate changes and adapt your strategies accordingly. This not only improves the ability to meet market needs but can also position you as a leader in adopting new technologies and approaches in your field.

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Lastly, let's see how functional analysis can be applied.

Functional analysis


The Functional Analysis in TRIZ, which focuses on identifying the functional relationships and interactions between the components of a system, can also be very useful in the context of digital marketing. This tool helps to visualize how different elements of the system interact with each other, identifying necessary, redundant, harmful, or missing functions. Here's how you can apply it in digital marketing:

Steps to use functional analysis in digital marketing

  1. Defining the System: consider your digital marketing strategy as a system composed of various elements such as distribution channels, content, platforms, target audience, and analytics technologies.

  2. Mapping Functions: create a functional map that shows how each of these elements interacts with the others. For example, how content impacts audience engagement, or how data analysis influences strategic decisions.

  3. Identifying Relationships: categorize the relationships between components as useful, harmful, or neutral. This will help you understand which interactions promote your marketing goals and which could be optimized or eliminated.

  4. Optimizing the System: identify redundant or unnecessary functions that can be removed and detect areas where necessary functions may not be adequately supported. For example, if you find that user behavior analysis is not effectively used to personalize content, you might look to improve this function.

  5. Guided Innovation: use the information gathered from the analysis to drive targeted innovations, such as developing new types of content, exploring new marketing channels, or implementing advanced data analysis technologies

Practical example

Suppose you manage a digital campaign for a technological product. Start by identifying all the elements of your marketing system:

  • Elements: website, social media campaigns, email marketing, target audience, data analytics platform.
  • Mapping: visualize how these components interact. For example, the website is used to capture leads, social media campaigns influence brand perception, email marketing nurtures leads, and the analytics platform monitors performance.
  • Analysis of Relationships: assess whether email marketing is effectively converting leads into customers or if it's redundant compared to other tactics. Examine whether the interaction between social media and the website is optimal or if there are friction points.
  • Optimization: you might discover that data from social media are not adequately used to personalize emails. In this case, you could improve the integration between these tools to increase conversion.
  • Innovation: identify opportunities for new types of interactions or technologies that can enhance the system's functionality, such as integrating chatbots to improve engagement on the website.


Applying Functional Analysis in digital marketing helps you to:

  • Identify Inefficiencies: find areas where resources are wasted or not fully utilized.
  • Improve Integration: ensure that all elements of the marketing system work together cohesively and support the overall objectives.
  • Innovate with Focus: direct innovation efforts where they can have the greatest impact, based on a systematic analysis of functions and their interactions.


By using Functional Analysis, you can not only optimize your existing strategies but also discover new opportunities to grow and improve your approach to digital marketing.


The main intent of this article is to share some perspectives and food for thought. In reality, many of the principles and tools proposed by the TRIZ method are already employed—perhaps unconsciously—by those in marketing, particularly in digital channels. This is especially true the more the approach is data-driven, operates with a broad and long-term vision, and utilizes platforms or technological tools capable of supporting a truly integrated strategy.

However, I find the following aspect most interesting: in a context like digital marketing, where creativity and technology coexist and depend on each other, the answers to our professional challenges might often be hidden in places very different from those expected. Perhaps in a mechanical engineering manual.

What do you think? Leave a comment.