Filed underGrowing Your Small Business
Marketing Strategy – Don’t Go Off Half-Cocked!
I’m big on helping businesses stay ahead of the competition, and implementing innovative strategies to give clients the competitive advantage. Be ahead of the curve! Put innovative strategies into action!
An innovation strategy in any business involves aligning the product life cycles of the company with current research and development activities. In other words, be on top of the services and/or products you offer. Strategically introduce or alter the products and/or services you offer to maximize the potential revenue that those assets generate.
Let’s take a look at the three keys of innovation strategies that are the “lynch-pins” to making sure your innovation, research and development, not to mention, new product or service development is all working in harmony. Applying the three keys of innovation strategies requires that you use some sort of technological tools and have an organizational structure that promotes product and service innovation.
KEYS OF INNOVATION STRATEGY
1: “Research and development idea-mining”
The first key of innovation strategy involves having a culture that encourages idea-creation within your company. This is often within a research and development department as a means to centralize the creation of new ideas for products/services. Okay, maybe R&D in your company is you or Uncle Stan or maybe that guy in your billing department. It doesn’t really matter the origin of these innovations, it’s important to recognize that these ideas are possible implementation strategies.
Keep in mind, an innovation strategy can be used for both products and services.
New ideas can emerge from any area of your business and should be communicated back to your implementation group whether directly or indirectly. Use whatever type of idea tracking software or content management/knowledge management system that is at the disposal of your company.
Many business management degree courses fail to point out this fact – that inter-department communication is crucial to idea creation. It is vital that your company embrace an entrepreneurial spirit. Sometimes to gain a competitive advantage you are going to have to take risks – well-researched risks. As a simple example, one of your employees has an idea for an original product or service to offer. It’s not all that great an idea if after surveying your customer base that your customers indicate there is no need. If risks are taken, and they don’t pan out, DO NOT BACK PEDAL! You never know when one of those prospective nuggets will strike gold!
Business growth strategies are also able to assist in idea creation process by focusing company staff upon certain areas of particular interest. For example, a business growth strategy for a software development firm could involve outsourcing some elements of the firm’s product development. As a result, new ideas could be directed to look into ways of designing new software solutions that incorporate the ability to outsource developing sub-components of the application – for instance, coding by contract.
2: “Life-cycles and product innovation strategy”
The second key for innovation strategies stresses your company’s focus on innovation to match your product life cycles. Product life cycles can vary from company to company. Some more traditional companies/industries, like mining, have long life cycles where the product’s architecture design is reused for several years – or decades. As a result, innovative new ideas can only be incrementally added as a way to gradually improve products/services.
By contrast, companies with short life cycles, like software development firms, are constantly improving products and looking for new ways to out-position competitors. With a shorter life cycle, the research and development group can incorporate cutting edge technologies at a much faster rate into the organizations lines of products and come up with entirely new architectures and product platforms on a monthly basis. In other words, companies in this category are geared operationally and functionally to respond within and outside the market. It’s a given. Think of it as the “sink-or-swim” scenario.
For example, the Google marketing strategy can incorporate quick turnaround times and the concept of the ‘eternal beta‘ in order to constantly innovate the business’ product line. They are constantly beta-testing new products to remain competitive.
3: “Information / idea communication and customer feedback”
The third and final key of innovation strategy calls for a constant stream of information, suggestions and ideas between the research side of your company and the product/service creation side. The other crucial aspect, and probably the most important, is the feedback from your customers which feeds back into idea creation and improvements.
This constant information and idea exchange cycle should be included as part of business growth strategies to determine what type of innovative marketing strategies can be used to target customer needs. As I stated previously, there is no point coming up with a groundbreaking product innovation strategy that is not at least partly based upon some form of market research and customer feedback which shows that there is a genuine need.
Similarly, innovative marketing strategies that are solely looking at what existing customer needs are will often miss out on considering new technologies that are entering the market place. Consider using online marketing tools and keyword research to assess current trends. These new technologies can then be used to target customers with groundbreaking new products or services that fulfill customer needs which were previously not identified or fulfilled.
For your company to have effective innovation strategies which work correctly within your business, you really need to establish these three keys of innovation in order for the new ideas to make the best use of new technology while still being informed by business growth strategies and market research.
Acquire the tools! Utilize the tools! Capitalize on the tools!
Steve’s Light Bulb Moments LLC