Many Great Business Innovations Started as New Ways of Reaching Customers

Instead of finding a new product or a new market try looking for a new route to an existing market. In the late 19th century people living in rural America had to go into town to their local store to buy the goods they needed. The selection was poor and the items were expensive. A young railway company agent, Richard Sears, decided to try a new approach. Together with a watchmaker, Alvah Roebuck,... Read More--

Seek Unhappy Customers

It is nice to meet and talk to happy customers. They like your products or services and often recommend them to others. As a business leader you get a warm glow from a happy customer – it seems to make all your efforts worthwhile. Unfortunately you do not learn a great deal from the happy client. They just confirm what you already knew – that you are doing a great job. They reinforce complacency.... Read More--

How to Name a New Product

Companies and products are like people. They have names, personalities and images. Our individual names are chosen for us by our parents. But if we start a company or launch a new product then we get to choose a name. This is not a trivial task. It is worthy of some time and effort. I recently ran a brainstorm workshop for a client with the aim of finding a name for a new product. We took this approach... Read More--

What One Word Encapsulates your Brand?

In the classic marketing book, The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, authors Al Ries and Laura Ries state that a successful branding program is based on the concept of a singularity. It creates in the mind of the prospect the perception that there is no product on the market quite like yours. Furthermore they argue that you should strive to own one word in the mind of the consumer – a word that... Read More--

Topical Mischief makes for Innovative Marketing

The news that unauthorised horse meat had been found in various parts of the European meat trade in early 2013 caused a major scandal. Consumers and regulators were up in arms. Paddy Power, the Irish online gambling company, seized the moment by issuing a 36 page cook book of horse meat recipes with their annual results. It gained them significant publicity as this article in Marketing Week shows.... Read More--

Ask, ‘What Business are we in?’

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Turn your Marketing Weakness into a Strength

One way to innovate with your products and services is to examine your perceived weaknesses and turn them into strengths.  James Bannerman gives some examples in his new book, Genius – deceptively simple ways to become instantly smarter.   A pint of  Guinness takes longer to pour than other beers and this might be seen as a weakness but Guinness advertising focuses on this slow pouring and... Read More--

Lateral Thinking and Innovation in Marketing

Paul Sloane gives some advice on assumptions, lateral thinking and innovation for marketing executives. #short_code_si_icon img {width:32px; } .scid-8 img { width:32px !important; } Share : function openwindow(url) {,"Window","menubar=0,resizable=1,width=750,height=400"); } ... Read More--

Ways to Innovate your Product or Service – Add, Subtract, Differentiate.

If you are looking for product or process innovations then try some mathematical operators – add, subtract and differentiate. What can you add to your product, what can you take away and how can you differentiate? Let’s look at how Ryanair used this approach to take on the established airlines. Michael O’Leary, the founder of Ryanair looked at the whole business process of passenger... Read More--

When the conventional no longer works, try the controversial

The New South Wales Road Traffic Authority ran a highly controversial and highly successful campaign against speeding. Previous campaigns featuring accidents and dangers of speeding had had little effect. The new campaign showed women shaking their little finger – a gesture used to symbolise a small penis – as speeding male motorists race past. The gesture caught on and this edgy campaign... Read More--