Monday, September 21, 2009

Innovate, innovate, and then innovate!

If you want her business, you’ve get to tell her the truth! Yes, it’s all about her. If you ask her, she would admit it with confidence. Confidence, and power for that matter, derived from knowledge about your products, your services and your “experiences”. And knowledge about your genre and industry as a whole! The customer is indeed; Queen and you “bess” get used to it and push the reset button.
You can start by considering innovation as a constant. The data is staring you in the face! It’s year n+1 of your new product launch and the numbers are just beginning to come in, and wham, you’re experiencing a more than 70% drop in sales. It’s a mystery! This can’t be! Not what you projected! Ahhh! The damn Follow-up Effect. Say what? But 70%, you ask? There’s got to be some other explanation! It used to be closer to 30%! You mutter! Ok, you scream and then some! What the dickens is going on? Customer evolution! That’s what’s going on! You really cannot rest on your laurels or on last year’s blockbuster. Or last season’s for that matter. After long and lengthy post mortems, reconciliations and discussions, you all agree it’s a new world. OK, whaddayado? You innovate!
Fact is, innovation does not have to be radical and revolutionary; it could simply be emergent and incremental. Furthermore, innovation could also involve a re-definition of your mission statement, a slight change in your product or service offering; your processes or your business organization. It could, for that matter, be a commitment to your community and the environment. And it could very well be a new message in your advertising or a modification in your packaging. The goal should always be a positive change and the change should be geared towards increasing your value offering to the customer. Most important of all, it must be frequent and often.
Point is, she needs to know that you care a little more about her and not just about your company’s bottom-line. Caring a little more about her actually improves your bottom-line and creates a whole new blue ocean for your business. Your neighborhood bank is now open on Saturdays, and your favorite Dry Cleaner’s is open on Sunday afternoon. What do they know and why now? What have you done to change your business lately? Have you responded to what your customer is saying? Or rather, demanding? Take the issues of the day and bring them down to the individual customer level. How do these affect her in her daily life? Accept any and all ideas from all, then craft tomorrow’s winning solution. And then, do it again and again and again.

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