You Must Never Stop Innovating
Jon, once of my colleagues sent me a link to this YouTube Video of Steve Jobs back in 1996.
The key message I got from this was about innovation. Whether it is evolving new products and services, improving on what you currently offer, or coming up with totally new disruptive ideas, you must continually find ways to reinvent your business.
Many companies don’t do this. They create a product offering, a business model and then they start on the business cycle which is often displayed as a classic SIN wave. They build the product or solution, they start marketing it, people start buying it and things are looking good. The business grows, the customer base grows and they get into a model of BAU or Business As Usual. For a period of time things are going great and the board increases its return expectations, budgets go up and are achieved.
THEN things start going backwards. Sales teams are blamed for poor performance, the whip starts cracking and life isn’t quite so much fun any more. Competitors have come up with new products that are outselling yours and the discounting starts. Next thing you know the company is struggling and wondering how they went from hero to a rapid nose dive in the market. If they don’t figure out the answer, or find someone who can, they may end up out of business altogether, or they may find the funding to reinvent a new product and then go through the same boom and bust cycle again.
If however, the company took a different approach and from the beginning, or from the time they realise they need to drop BAU and start reinventing themselves, the financials of the business could look very different. They could have overlapping innovation from old products and have new products being developed at the same time.
What is obvious from the outside is that most companies don’t do this, they don’t know how, because they have built an infrastructure around their business model and products. They employed the right people for the job and given what they have, they probably do it well. The problem is that the world moves on and their needs change. Competitors start-up because they see that need and opportunity.
There are two key factors that we can take from Jobs and from observation of how companies work. First, it is painful to innovate and change. It can be expensive and mistakes can be costly. Second, you need someone with passion and experience to help see what you cannot, from the perspective of someone who has knowledge, but doesn’t have emotional skin in the current modus operandi.
When it comes to serious innovation, especially from a marketing services perspective, if you want to do something amazing, something disruptive and market leading, you should consider:
- Talking to your customers, a lot!
- Talking to marketing specialists such as an agency
- Talking to specialists on the leading edge of today’s technologies, like us:)