Let’s assume this represents the adoption rate of your product or service.
Businesses who bring innovative products into the market, spend a lot of time finding and developing a market of early adopters. The sales cycle is high touch and time-consuming but so are the margins.
The available market and profits are limited until the product is boring and goes mainstream. At this point the majorities awareness and comfort level tips to bring in more consumers and profits (competition too).
For most businesses, with mature products and markets, there is still an opportunity to innovate. According to Geoffrey Moore in Dealing With Darwin, there are eight specific types of innovations at this point.
- Line-extension Innovation:
Turning an established product into a unique subcategory or different use. Examples include extending the uses for baking soda or car makers creating the SUV segment.
- Enhancement Innovation:
Adding more benefit to an existing product. An example would be adding a feature to an existing software package.
- Marketing Innovation:
Carving out a different niche or space to differentiate your product from the competitors. Starbucks did this for coffee.
- Experiential Innovation:
Changing the packaging or delivery of a product to enhance the experience. Nordstroms does this for retail.
- Value-engineering Innovation:
Drive down costs in the supply chains. Boeing does this with sourcing materials for the 787.
- Integration Innovation:
Tying loose ends or systems together to drive out complexity. Apple did this with iTunes and the AppStore.
- Process Integration:
Drive down costs through operational improvements. Wal-mart built an empire with this method.
- Value Migration:
Moving up the value chain to increase margins. IBM moved for hardware to consulting. Gilette moved from razors to the blades.
Printers have been very good at operational innovations (the last 4) and very poor to non-existent in the customer intimacy innovations. Operational excellence can only be squeezed so much until you hit a wall. Just look at Toyota, the master’s of efficiencies and process innovation. Yet creativity and marketing are much less restrictive once you start to focus on your existing, ideal, and future customers.
Web-to-print is a good example of experiential innovation and not a bad place to expand your creativity and marketing for your customer.
photo: babak bagheri