Temas de Mercadeo y Publicidad
The process of innovating may be as simple or as complex as we decide to make it.
It can be compared to the development of an APP, a platform which is supposed to connect us with an audience in which we define the paths and ways the audience will walk through in order to reach us. You have the decision to make such ways complicated to run across or create an easy going buy effective shortcut where customers will feel that they have been heard by making their walk a remarkable one.
The same thing happens when running across the INNOVATION process.
Companies have two ways to reach for customer´s satisfaction: HARD INNOVATION and SOFT INNOVATION.
HARD INNOVATION appeals to the analytic stage of marketing. Few emotional facts involved here. Research and investigation play a key role for the Hard Innovation process. Consumer´s trends are shredded, analyzed and converted into new products that will run to our lab for development where outstanding features will be added. Just by the same time the marketing department is analyzing costs of production and settling new prices, designing labels, and creating high convincing advertising concepts that no customer will surely resist. They will come and give us their preference, money, top of mind and consequently a desirable market share.
Well, at least that is the way it is supposed to work.
But what happens with SOFT INNOVATION? How does it work?
SOFT INNOVATION works differently. Does not discard what can be found in a R&I process, but mostly goes for an alternative way to get results; by involving the customer itself (in flesh and blood) into the product development process.
I have to say that I disagree with the given name of soft innovation for this process. It is rather harder than Hard Innovation, since it considers a high involvement of data screening in order to reach for the right results, because you might have as much segmented opinions to evaluate as persons participating in the process there are. So you must be careful by listening to those that might ring the bell to your marketing ears, considering where the market is heading to and also considering your resources as a company. But this process comes easy when you use social media as a channel of communication and listening to your customers.
Speaking about resources, it would not be a bad idea then to call on our suppliers. Now that we heard the customers, let´s hear what suppliers have to tell. Maybe they have a new production process, or are working on a new technology that we are unaware about.
Listening to suppliers is the second key factor to run a successful Soft Innovation process.
The third party in all the process is the retailer. It might be helpful to pay attention to what they have to say. After all, they are the closest link we have with our customers, so make sure to include them into the agenda when running a soft innovation process.
Delivering innovation to customers creates loyalty, which eventually will become into advocacy.
The more customers whose expectations for our product are being surpassed, the more we are able to become a brand “to follow”.
Some brands have clearly understood the process of innovation and have developed custom-made products for every consumer.
Nike with the NIKEid system where customers are able to build own and unique shoes for sports.
Oakley with Oakley Custom Sunglasses, where the customers will never be seeing the sun the same way again.
Method, by creating outstanding innovative products that not only help customers to save, but also contribute to the conservation of the eco system.
Three companies that have changed the way customers feel about the way they should be treated. Three companies that have raised the bar of customer satisfaction a little higher for all other companies that are coming after, and still have no innovation policies on their way of doing marketing.