|The Power Of InnovationInnovation plays a key role in business. It drives change, and change can lead to new revenue opportunities for your business. Innovation can produce sudden and dramatic changes to the way business is done and the way consumers experience the products and services made by companies.
Innovation, as described by innovation expert Jake Nielsen:
A lot of managers think of new markets in terms of geography, such as entering an emerging market like India or China. While that can be highly valuable, new market innovations can also refer to use cases, such as applying a current product in a new way and sometimes even for a different segment of customers. The classic example often cited is Arm & Hammer baking soda. The primary use for baking soda is as a leavening agent for dough when baking bread. However, after baking soda had been in the market for a while, Arm & Hammer discovered a trend among its customers—using baking soda as a deodorizer. People were putting an open container of baking soda in their refrigerator (baking soda does not need to be refrigerated) simply to neutralize any odors from foods. This prompted the company to start marketing baking soda as a multi-purpose product rather than for use only in baking.
There are several things to consider when exploring new markets for your product including:
Adjacent spaces: What industries or uses would you consider as adjacent? Often adjacent spaces are fertile ground for introduction of your existing product(s) or service(s).
Other jobs to be done: Like in the Arm & Hammer example, baking soda was capable of performing multiple jobs for the customer quite well, even though at the beginning Arm & Hammer was only thinking of the job of baking. What other jobs does your product do? Could those be marketed to other customers?
Customer usage studies: For some products, customers may already be using your product in new and different ways that you haven’t considered yet. Market-research methods are best suited to bring those use cases to light.
New market innovations can be extraordinarily successful if executed well. In some cases, all it takes to introduce a product into a new market is educating your customers, both current and new, about the other things your product can do. This can either be a cost-leadership or benefit-leadership strategy. If you have a product that is basically a premium-value product (benefit leadership) in its existing form and you manage to successfully apply that product to a new use case then the value of your product will need to be weighed in light of the alternatives for the new use case. For example, if Arm & Hammer baking soda costs $4 a box while most other baking soda brands cost around $2 a box, then it’s safe to assume that the Arm & Hammer baking soda is viewed as a benefit-leader product.
However, if most refrigerator deodorizers cost an average of $8 a bottle, then the Arm & Hammer baking soda is essentially a cost leader against the alternative deodorizers. This scenario is often what can make some products so successful when applied in a new way.
Ready to learn about one more strategy for innovation? Read PCT tomorrow and get tips on being disruptive.
Source: Jake Nielsen is the founder of TheInnovativeManager.com, which includes the tools and trade secrets great innovators, entrepreneurs and thought leaders have used throughout history to change the world. He is also a contributor to Innovation Excellence, an online home of the global innovation community, building upon a rapidly growing network with thousands of members from over 175 countries.
Compiled by Cassandra Johnson