Does your product need to be innovative in order to succeed, or does it just have to be unique?
Can you be innovative in other ways rather than offering an innovative product?
Sure you can! While innovation can help with marketing and lead generation, it can also make you leaner, more flexible and more creative.
While innovation might not be a necessity under normal circumstances, this economic environment requires you to innovate in order to stand out.
Below are different ways you can innovate in order to be as competitive as possible.
Product or service innovation
Innovative products are those that might:
- Have distinct features and benefits
- Perform a task in a new or inventive way
- Utilize new or experimental technology
These products normally carry a larger markup because they attract consumers who are willing to pay steep premiums for newer technology.
The benefits of offering innovative products include enjoying large margins and high-paying customers. Also, you may often be regarded as an industry leader.
The down side to innovation is that you always have to innovate in order to continually enjoy these benefits. This can be very costly.
You don’t HAVE to innovate. Instead, you can have another Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Innovation is only one type of USP, but there are also many others. Creating a different USP is a great way to differentiate yourself from your competition while also attracting many targeted customers without the expense of innovation.
Your business can have innovative management through:
- Management training
- Finding new ways to motivate employees
- Granting autonomy and empowerment
- Allowing your employees to self-manage
You want to come up with unique and creative ways to lead, control and organize your staff. Being innovative through management can save you money, improve the workplace culture, encourage openness and even raise productivity. In turn, this can make you more competitive, adaptive to change and have cheaper operations.
Your marketing strategies could be innovative with:
- Unique marketing messages (ie: Apple’s “I’m a Mac” ads)
- New channels of marketing (ie: ads in Video Games)
- Who you advertise to
- Creative ways to retain customers
The benefit to innovative marketing is that you’ll find new and effective methods to attract customers in ways that your competition has never even though of.
Innovative processes and manufacturing
If you can find a new way to create a product, run a department, or even measure the output of a process, you are innovating. This process innovation should usually result in less resource usage without sacrificing output quality.
This innovation may result in simplified production, higher quality products and/or lower production and overhead costs. This can often give you the option to either reduce your price, or enjoy a higher profit margin.
Google is considered extremely innovative in its workplace culture. Between the Wi-Fi enabled buses they send to pick up their staff, granting their employees time to work on any project they choose or even the casual work environment they provide, Google’s reputation for being a great place to work has quickly become legendary, all thanks to their culture.
Because of their well renowned culture, they attract top talent and always have a large pool of applicants. This allows them to hire quality employees who can keep the company humming at and incredibly efficient level.
By having your own innovative culture, you too can attract superstars. These kinds of superstars can do wonders for your company’s success, and can help it to grow even faster than if you were running it by yourself.
Innovative office environment
Having a green work environment, aesthetically pleasing interior decorating, ergonomically friendly offices and desks or even something as simple as providing a means to work from home are all examples of ways you can innovate.
Providing an innovative physical work environment can be a great way to increase productivity and boost worker morale. This can ultimately improve the quality of your output while decreasing your level of input.
Innovative use of technology
Twitter has gained an enormous amount of popularity in the past month. It has proven to be a great communication channel, marketing channel, blogging channel and in my opinion, the best social network medium out there.
This is just an example of ONE innovation that individuals and companies are all taking advantage of. Innovative uses of technology can save you time and money when communicating, marketing, managing, motivating, manufacturing or in pretty much any business process.
I think a great example of innovative uses of technology was in President Obama’s election campaign. He utilized Twitter, Facebook, Text Messaging, all of which allowed him to more intimately target and market to the demographic of students, twenty somethings and the technologically inclined. No other presidential candidate has ever used technology to the extent that Obama had in a campaign.
While I can’t say if this was the deciding factor in his campaign, it certainly helped and it certainly was successful in getting him a lot of support from this demographic.
Thus, finding innovative ways to use technology will allow you to better communicate with and relate to your demographic. Also, it can reduce any business expense or improve product or service quality.
Are there any other ways businesses can innovate in order to become more competitive?