The web has torn down barriers to entry into virtually every industry. Your competitors are not just existing firms in the industry, the ones you already know about. If someone identifies a new or better way to deliver products or services in your market, he or she can start a business overnight in a garage and wham! you’ve got a new competitor in your space.
The digital age is the age of the entrepreneur and there are lots of people looking for potential business opportunities. So standing still isn’t an option.
Product or Service Innovation: What Does Your Customer Want?
The late Steve Jobs is well-known for saying “It is not the customer’s job to know what they want”. And there’s that apocryphal quote from Henry Ford: “If I’d asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” [Note: There is no evidence that Ford actually said or wrote those words.]
Good news. You don’t have to have the genius of Jobs to be able to create products or services that your customers want if they don’t know they want it.
In this excellent article “3 Ways To Predict What Consumers Want Before They Know It“, Scott Anthony, Managing Director of Innosight, Asia-Pacific, provides practical ways to approach this.
Marketing: Think Creatively About Using Social Media To Reach Your Customers
If you are still not using social media as part of your marketing, you may be losing out to competitors who are. As Guy Kawasaki observed in an interview with Eric Markowitz in Inc.:
…social media enables you to do that (marketing) in a fast, free, and ubiquitous way – Guy Kawasaki
But learn how to use it effectively. There’s lots of free advice out on the web. Yes, social media does take effort. If you don’t have the resources in-house, outsource it.
A recent story in the Australian Financial Review illustrates how effective social media can be as a marketing tool, particularly if you get creative about how you use it.
Kurt Opray, a social media expert, sold his house for $135,000 more than its reserve price by using a more creative way of marketing his property.
Instead of relying solely on the traditional marketing approach used by his real estate agent (which included the house being listed on the agent’s website), he started up a blog where he described the experience of living in the house, the lifestyle of being where he was etc. He drove traffic to the blog via various social platforms. The real estate agent is quoted in the AFR as saying: “It’s still raw for us – the take-up and interest was astounding.”
So, what could you do more creatively with your marketing?