Your market is growing at 3% and your operating plan says you’ll grow faster than this next year. Of course, your competitors have similar plans… meaning everyone plans to grow faster than the market served. As TV psychologist Dr. Phil would say, “How’s that been working for you?” Could it be time for a different approach… e.g. understanding customer needs far better than competitors?
More in Leader’s Guide Videos Lesson 1, Recognize your growth challenge
Many B2B producers are stuck at the 2nd of the 4 innovation maturity levels: Solution Validation. When they ask customers to validate their cool new idea, they think they are understanding market needs. They are not. They are simply understanding market reaction… to one idea… their idea. You’ll get far better results by reaching the 3rd maturity level: Market Insight.
More in white paper, Guessing at Customer Needs (page 7).
We now chuckle at how sales people used to rely on ABC (Always Be Closing) and manufacturers relied on end-of-line inspectors (vs. statistical quality control). But those will pale compared to the way today’s B2B companies test markets: by launching fully-developed products at their customers. When they could have learned customer needs first with some simple interviews. Funny stuff.
More in article, The Inputs to Innovation for B2B
On average, you and your competitors will grow at the same rate as the markets you serve. Don’t feel entitled to this. If a competitor develops a blockbuster, you’ll be happy to minimize your sales decline. Thinking otherwise is like 1970’s Detroit auto-makers assuming Japanese competitors would keep producing junk.
More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 15).
The first is inherited growth from products launched long ago, which now “carry” your business. The second is market growth… the tide that lifts all boats. You can only impact the third—earned growth—by doing a better job than every competitor in understanding and meeting the needs of a market. This means it’s easy to be lulled into thinking your underlying growth is greater than it is.
More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 14).
A Landmine can kill your project… but who steps on a Landmine they can see? When you convert assumptions and questions into facts, you make landmines visible and therefore harmless. A Launchpad is an unexpected, high-value customer outcome. Discover these before competitors to develop solutions in a “competition-free zone.”
More in white paper, Innovating in Unfamiliar Markets (page 13).
Ultimately, everything your business does should be about efficiently delivering value to customers. If you don’t focus on clusters of like-minded customers, their needs will be randomly observed by different people in your company at different times under different conditions. Not an efficient way to develop new products—your lifeblood.
More in New Product Blueprinting article, How’s Your Market Segmentation?