Here are four key questions vital for increasing your chances of success.
All industries are in the process of rapid transformation and many are being forced to innovate in a bid to outlast the competition.
In a time of slow economic growth, innovation is no longer a buzzword – it’s a necessity. Companies have to rethink their business models and marketing strategies, and come up with new product and service solutions.
Most companies expect ideas and initiatives to come naturally or be arrived at through creativity training, but innovation is not a natural inclination for everyone, says Kellogg School of Management’s marketing guru Philip Kotler, who recently spoke at Melbourne’s World Marketing & Sales Forum.
Kotler challenges all business owners to rate their innovation ability by asking themselves four key questions:
1. Does your business have the ability to find new opportunities?
This is all about creating an environment that fosters innovation. Think about where you’re focusing your search efforts for innovation – is it outside or inside your company – and how that innovation process is managed, says Kotler.
This will help you analyse the efficiency of the innovation process from the first stage of conception right through to the development stages and to the final implementation.
2. Do you make use of market research and analytics?
There’s no need for guesswork when it comes to keeping track of customer insights. But unless you are on top of data collected via your website and social media channels then you are doing just that.
Kotler suggests getting up to speed with analytics tools that can provide you with the intelligence to make data-driven decisions.
3. Are you using communication tools effectively?
We’re living in an age of consumer empowerment as a direct result of social media, says Kotler, and online users who freely share their opinions and recommendations are increasingly influencing customers. Their voices are impacting what brands people are willing to be aligned with and what products or services they want to invest in.
When coming up with a social media strategy it’s worth thinking about how peer groups and their opinions might translate into driving potential leads.
4. Do you have a strong marketing strategy?
Business owners tend to see marketing as a department that comes into play after a product has been made, when in fact marketing should set the strategic direction for the company from the outset, says Kotler.
Innovations often fail because there is little communication between the marketing team and other departments, so it’s a good idea to assess the levels of engagement between marketing and development in your company, suggests Kotler.
If you recognise there is limited back and forth, think about what steps your business can take to improve the working relationship between teams and ensure marketing is more involved in the various stages of the innovation process.
So, how does your company rate?