There is much talk of innovation in the world of business. Few words carry more persuasive power than “new”. New presents an aura of freshness; generates a spirit of adventure; creates excitement and exhilaration. New, however, is a complex term in marketing.
New market offerings provide value to consumers and to companies. The degree of value varies dependent on how new the product or service really is. When a product or service is said to be new, this does not necessarily mean it is completely new to the market. Perhaps it is helpful to think of newness on a continuum ranging from ‘new to the world’ – such as the Wright brothers’ designs were to aviation a century ago or as Wi-Fi was to mobile technology a few years ago – to the other end of the spectrum – ‘slightly repositioned’, such as Coke Zero® to appeal to more health conscious consumers.
Firms must continue to innovate in order to keep their products viable. Innovation refers to the process whereby ideas are transformed into new offerings. These new offerings include one or a combination of the following: products, services, branding concepts and/or process improvements. Lacking innovation, a firm risks stagnation. Certainly, companies can continue to market their current product in the same marketplace or expand into a new market with the product to similar customers. Innovation lends toward expanding existing markets which is generally much easier and more cost effective than developing new markets (a topic to be discussed in future articles).
Upcoming articles will discuss why a company would choose to pioneer innovative new offerings and a process that might be employed to drive ideas to market.
For now, do all the right stuff and the money will come.
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