Innovation is spread across the extended marketing mix, from product through to physical evidence. It could be argued that the people element is the key to marketing innovation as they are the ones who come up with and deliver it. Innovation is a key part of the New Product Development Process (NPD) but isn’t just about creativity and new ideas, it’s about evolving business processes, products and markets which meet untapped customer needs; the key thing here is innovation is not just about product, it’s about processes, manufacturing, communication and timing.
What do I need to consider?
So if innovation is a holistic process, businesses must work in harmony with suppliers, employees, customers and all other key stakeholders to ensure the right idea is invested in and the whole process evolves to deliver the product or service in record time.
Utterback (1994) categorised innovation into 7 groups which should be considered as part of the innovation process:
- Product – Making changes to the product e.g. moving from CDs to MP4
- Process – Evolving how products are made and delivered e.g. Online banking
- Position – Changing the context of the products e.g. Mobiles are now internet browsers too
- Paradigm – Changing the organisations attitude e.g. More environmentally aware
- Organisational – Updating how the organisation operates e.g. Growth through franchise
- Management – Re-engineer business processes e.g. Structure & hierarchy
- Marketing – Expanding delivery & communication channels e.g. Digital channels
So, innovation is more than a new idea; consider all the other elements above to ensure the right idea is delivered at the right time and adds value at a profit.
What Makes a Good Service?
A service is very different to a product; but what makes a good service? To keep it simple I will base this answer on the well researched SERVQUAL model which was developed by Parasuraman in 1985.
There are five key ‘service quality’ elements (RATER):
- Responsiveness- Be helpful, friendly and on time (People ‘P’ of the marketing mix)
- Assurance- Be courteous and competent (People ‘P’ of the marketing mix)
- Tangibles- Make your service ‘tangible’ (Physical evidence ‘P’ of the marketing mix)
- Empathy- Understand your customers and give them attention (People ‘P’ of the marketing mix)
- Reliability- Deliver what you promise (Processes ‘P’ of the marketing mix)
These seven basic rules will ensure your service succeeds:
- Do the little things better than your competitors
- Have strong processes and manage the service well (Processes ‘P’ of the marketing mix)
- Listen to what your customers want
- Invest in your people; they are the ones who deliver it (People ‘P’ of the marketing mix)
- ‘Wow’ your customers each time
- Look after your customers and care about them
- Always monitor your service and look to improve it