recently said that "innovation is now one of the most
effective ways of generating a competitive
advantage". I agree.
looking for something
busy advertising-driven consumer lives, bolstered by an
information tool like the internet, means that we have evolved
greater sophistication in what and how we buy. We tend to
treat more and more products and services as pure commodities, where
price is the key determinant. Knowing that a supplier offers a
'good' price for something is no longer enough to keep them
competitive, because we already know where we can find the
'best' price. Or the 'best' delivery time, or the 'best' this or
competitive means that you either have to be the 'best' in one
competitive category, like price, or be sufficiently different
to be recognised as delivering superior benefits to your
the 'best' and defending that position when you are a small company
is very difficult. Whatever you set your price at, there's
always someone, normally bigger or maybe just desperate, who'll
undercut you. Besides which, it's really difficult to make
good profits when you're the lowest price supplier in a
find that it's always better to be different. And the key to
creating that difference is innovation ... taking an existing
product or service and making changes that customers will
recognise as delivering new or improved benefits.
are the judge ... and
a number of factors that contribute to successful innovation in
small companies. Being customer needs oriented is one, and so is
having some 'fanatics' on the payroll (people with the belief and
passion to drive through changes). A project that has low
early costs is much more desirable than one that requires a massive
financial 'leap of faith'.
most important factor is the acceptance that the innovation might
not work as well as you'd like. In fact it might not work at
all (remember the new flavoured Coca Cola?). And if it does
fail, you'll learn from that and make the next innovation
better. The fear of failure is the most common cause of a lack
of innovation and ultimately a diminution in
the ideas for an innovation project can seem to be a major
problem. But there are some excellent sources. Your
staff are a good start as are your competitors. Try looking at
other industries and see how they do things. Finally, talk to
your customers. They are the judge and jury of whether an
innovation improves your attraction to them or not, so finding out
what they think is always useful.
remember that there may well be some of your customers who are less
receptive to change than others, so be careful to phase in
innovative changes at the appropriate pace for each
and working pragmatically like this will help you to make
your marketing work better for you in a more memorable way.
This means that your target customers will be able to differentiate
your products and services from those of your competitors and
clearly see the value in buying from you.
If you would like some advice on memorable
marketing techniques for your own business, or you know someone
at another business who might need help, then please contact us.
The sooner you start, the sooner you will benefit.
Download this handy guide which explains some of
the latest thinking on how to get the best from your marketing
in order to improve business effectiveness.
the Chartered Institute of Marketing as part of their Shape The
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people of all experience levels.
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and Oxfordshire area, the Marketing Effectiveness Assessment
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of marketing to communicate to existing and potential customers. It
also includes a series of simple and cost-effective marketing
activities that the business can implement immediately and at low
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Chartered Institute of Marketing
Marketing UK (information portal)