We usually think that to innovate we must be in a new market that has a direct relation with new technologies. In mature markets, technology is not the nuclear activity. But, here it is also possible to innovate.
Some firms put their energy into making money and gain market share from competitors. Other companies focus on the consumer, not the product. They have a marketing vision. The honest desire to enhance the conditions of a group of people is an endless source of innovation.
Mature and not technological
Innovation is an attractive term; it makes us dream and think about new possibilities. But it is hard to apply that to our lives and talk about companies and products that are close to us.
Many people work in mature markets with services that have a long history. In those situations, the significant innovation was a long time ago. Now, it's hard to introduce any changes. The margin of action seems small.
It is easy to talk about innovation in sectors where technology is the protagonist. But most of the population are in mature markets where the core activity is not technology.
In those cases, many people think that innovation is not possible. Some comment that they should focus on making a product of high quality. Others are skeptics and say "they have already invented everything." Let’s analyze those two reactions.
Quality and innovation
The notion of quality changes depending on the sector. Sometimes, it could have different meanings for each consumer. The term high quality is general, subjective and difficult to measure.
I will separate it into three layers:
- The legal rules. The authorities determine the essential quality standards. That includes security and health. If the consumer trusts the retailer, he does not even consider that first step.
- Characteristics and price. We compare the different products on the market. We study the balance between features and price.
- Subjective perceptions and the brand. That element has a significant role once the product meets the first two requisites.
The quality does not make the difference. It is a necessary factor, a prerequisite to enter the market. Legal rules, features, and price let the product enter the market. It is what allows them to play the game. From here, the brand is the decisive factor. The perceptions and feelings are in another category, a different world.
So, I don't think that quality leads to innovation. Even more, there is no direct relation between those two concepts.
Is it all invented?
Some say that innovation is not possible: "they have invented everything." I believe that is not the case.
Many things do not work well. We have examples everywhere we go. Those cases are also opportunities to make something new. Creating a company is solving problems and making a profit. We can make a better world by offering solutions and improving what we have around us.
Marketing, focus on people
Innovation is possible in any sector. I think the critical point is to focus the attention on the consumer.
We should search for needs first and then try to make products and services. That is the basic concept of marketing. That idea drives us to infinite innovation possibilities. Consumers will always have problems and needs. Each one is an opportunity to create a new service or to improve an existing one.
Marketing, from this point of view, helps to make a better world. It forces companies to focus their interest in people. It can improve some aspect, a portion, even small, of our environment.
The first step is segmentation, to choose a particular problem, a desire of a group. I will talk about that in the next post.
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