Embrace Marketing Innovation and Value-Creation for 2017 New Year!

Welcome back to the Huizenga College and New Year 2017!

Let us be thankful that we made it as we get ready for another swift-moving year.

What’s ahead of us, financial events, more uncertainties, or will it be a year of plenty and joy? 2017 is the Year of the Rooster in the Chinese Zodiac, and it seems related to any of these. In fact, while our New Year began on January 1, 2017, the Chinese New Year will begin on January 28, 2017 as the 4147th Chinese year. Whatever the case, it is a New Year and we have already won a great fortune by being present despite going through what has been regarded as a very tough year, 2016. The year 2016 saw several grand changes that both individuals and organizations must remain mindful of as they plan their 2017 New Year Resolution to make personal changes and changes for their customers. In 2016 we lost several celebrities and more closer to us, loved ones. We also witnessed a shocking presidential campaign, and the consequential election with one of America’s most recognized businessman being elected to the Office of President of the United States – and this one is still probably holding people’s minds and hearts back in 2016!

Let us rebrand and reposition ourselves, our products, services, and organizations to move forward!

Strategic marketing embraces focusing on challenges and opportunities to align a product, service, or attributes thereof with mission and vision in a changing, dynamic, and complex environment. In order to respond appropriately to the changing demands of today’s markets, organizations must often reposition, rebrand, and augment services and products (McFarlane, 2016). So must individuals, as life, like the ever changing and ever evolving marketing environment, is an experiment in failures and successes! We must learn from our failures and re-strategize to go forward!

There will be even more significant changes ahead of us as individuals and organizations in 2017, especially with the “eccentricities” and ego of the President-elect and his Cabinet of millionaires and billionaires. Position yourself to weather these changes that will have political, social, and most importantly for individuals and businesses – certain economic consequences! Perhaps this is a good time to count your pennies and your dollars, check your client-customer base, rethink your marketing efforts, your product, your service, and the actual value you are creating and offering to customers, your competitive frame of reference, your competitive position, and how you are going to sustain throughout 2017!

If you are a business struggling with declining customer base, sales, and/or revenues, it is no doubt a marketing problem more than any other issue! There could be several reasons for this:

·         Customers are probably not convinced that you are offering better value, product, or service than your competitors.

·         Customers probably feel that the benefits your brand, product, or service confers do not equal costs, or are less than costs – check your prices, your value-packages, service-and-marketing mix, and brand equity!

·         You are probably lacking innovation and it is wearing at your brand’s value and your image needs a facelift – invest more in public relations (PR), social media marketing, and co-create value with customers and business partners.

·         Seek to better understand the current and emerging industry and broader market and business environments and gauge your marketing communications strategically and appropriately.

·         Conduct a brand strength test using surveys or other means – check to see what your customers are thinking, figure out your net promoter score (NPS), and marketing measures that really matter.

·         Stop fooling yourself and destroying your business model to be something you are not, but rather focus on your core competences and know your resources, and most importantly, your capabilities. These are important in building and sustaining competitive advantage.

·         Finally, value your people asset – see your employees and customers as your most valuable assets (Kotler & Keller, 2016), and do what it takes to meet and exceed their expectations, and most importantly, realize that political play has its limits, and will not do for your business what great marketing and innovation can! Striving to be like your competitor is not innovation, it is imitation and may not work for you! Therefore, seek new marketing, value-creating, and value-adding opportunities – and practice niche marketing!

As McFarlane (2016) advises, be an Early Progressive rather than a Late Progressive, and most importantly, stop remaining a Clueless about your personal, and marketing and business realities.

 “Early Progressives” had already thought about 2017’s New Year Resolution from about the middle of 2016, and probably evaluated and reevaluated self and environment, and a host of other key success factors (KSFs) many times over. If you are a “Late Progressive” you are still probably dealing with the traumas of 2016 – personal and business losses, decline in customer base, revenues, income, opportunities – but guess what? You still have time to evaluate and develop a resolution for success in 2017! Whatever the case, avoid being a “Clueless” and realize that it is now 2017, and you and your business have entered a tougher market and business environment. It is therefore time to drop the uncertainties and suppress those Type C tendencies (“C” for “Clueless”) – procrastination, fair of planning and facing change, passive leadership, political play, and wishful marketing, and start to engage real action and efforts to make 2017 a great year to remember!

The Huizenga College and the Marketing Faculty wish you a healthy and prosperous 2017!

References

Kotler, P., & Keller, L. (2016). A Framework for Marketing Management, 6th Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

McFarlane, D.A. (2016). A New Year’s Resolution: Rebrand and Reposition Yourself! HCBE Marketing Blog: Real-World Marketing Ideas and Strategies, January 1, 2016. Retrieved from https://secure.business.nova.edu/marketing-blog/index.cfm/2016/1/1/A-New-Years-Resolution-Rebrand-and-Reposition-Yourself

Donovan A. McFarlane, M.B.A., M.I.B, Ed.D., is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing in the H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship, Nova Southeastern University. He can be reached at donovan@nova.edu

Process Innovation and Customer Value [Video]

Dramatic shifts have occurred in technology and have transformed how firms do business and connect with their customers.  Innovation is enabling firms to organize in new ways, design better products, and manage supply chains. Winners in today’s economy will be those companies which can clearly define their processes, organize around those key processes, and work closely with their business partners.

      A key question is how do managers employ innovation as a best practice tool to effectively create maximum value for customers? There are three sources of technological “know-how”  --product technology (the set of ideas embodied in the product), process technology (the set of ideas embodied in the manufacture of the product), and management technology (the set of procedures associated with selling the product and administering the business unit).

      In a national study of 70 B2B technology companies, research found that process technology was the weak link with only 49% of firms mastering this activity (in contrast, product technology and management technology were successful in 81% and 70% of companies, respectively). Success rates were 67% for innovative cultures and 60% for research and development expertise. Medium and large companies were more successful in technology usage than smaller firms.

     There are many ideas on how to best innovate. Typically, various multi-step approaches are used to illustrate the innovation process. The accompanying video advocates a 5-step approach to innovation consisting of: 1) identifying the problem/challenge, 2) generate ideas, 3) find a solution, 4) test with customers, and 5) go to market/adjust.

     Innovation management can be studied as a process improvement technique across a spectrum of activities (R&D, new product management, cycle time reduction, creative personality types, etc.) and over the short-term and longer planning horizons. A variation in these findings may depend on organizational size, business or nonprofit, industry sector, environmental dynamics, or other considerations (management commitment to innovation, organizational capabilities, resources, etc.).

Video On Innovation

 

Reference

Weinstein, Art, Jin, Yan, and Barrett, Hilton (2013), “Strategic Innovation in B2B Technology Markets: A Need for a Process Perspective ,” Journal of Supply Chain and Operations Management,  11 (1), 64-76.    http://www.artweinstein.com/uploads/strategicinnovationB2Barticle.pdf

*Photo Credit: Forbes.com

 Art Weinstein, Ph.D., is Chair and Professor of Marketing and the co-creator/advisor for the Huizenga School Means Business Success!  Faculty Blog. He is the author of 7 books and more than 70 scholarly articles. His latest book is Superior Customer Value – Strategies for Winning and Retaining Customers, 3rd Edition, CRC Press (2012). More Info

The Cell Phone: From a Brick Size Clunker 40 years ago to a Major Marketing Tool Today

It is hard to believe the first cell phone call celebrated its 40th birthday on April 3, 2013. It then took 10 years to develop the first Motorola cell phone prototype into a commercially feasible phone gaining government approval in 1983. It weighed 2 ½ pounds and the cost was slightly under $4,000.

Today, the cell phone has dramatically shrunk in size and moved beyond its first purpose of telephone calls to a device for information consumption, information creation, and life management, driven by consumers, marketers, and rapid changes in technology.

The numbers are staggering. A recent study shows 87% of adults have a cell phone with about half using a smart phone allowing for full Internet connectivity. In fact, about a third of all cell phone users use their cell phone as their major connection to the Internet with apps accounting for the major portion of their Internet time. Two-thirds of smart phone users say they could not live without their smart phones.

The cell phone has become the consumer's tool for instant information from checking the weather, finding and reviewing a restaurant, comparing prices while shopping, to calling friends for advice on a purchase decision. Searching on PC's has been declining while mobile searching is increasing dramatically.

The iPhone began the age of mobile computing five years ago. Marketers have responded by developing customer friendly apps from the local bank to the largest airline. Apps for games, entertainment, news, weather, utilities, and music now carry ads targeted to specific consumers. As part of their overall marketing communications strategy, marketers must seek ways to understand mobile search behavior and how consumers use the software and apps on mobile devices.

Marketers will also need to innovate new ways to use the cell phone to improve customer experience for both products and services, going well beyond mobile banking or the ability to adjust the thermostat in your home. With its geo-positioning capability to determine your location, perhaps the mobile phone of the future will provide you with a coupon for ketchup as you walk down the aisle in the supermarket or send you an invitation to see a local veterinarian because your location showed you were in a doggy park.

Thirty-five years from now, when the first iPhone is 40 years old, will we be looking at the iPhone the same way we look at the first Motorola clunker cell phone?

Herbert Brotspies, D.B.A., is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship, Nova Southeastern University. He may be reached at brotspie@nova.edu.