Marketiing as a Driver of Innovation and Entrepreneurship - Page 2
Finding problems then solving them generates success (profits) for small businesses. Not doing so accounts for much of the failure rate for new products (up to 90%).
Entrepreneurs should focus on discovering consumer problems and solving them — not innovating just because the technology exists or they think it is cool. I once worked on a new product feasibility study for a company (A non-disclosure agreement says I can't give specifics). They developed a new B2B product and hired us to test consumer acceptance . Our study showed consumers didn't need this product and the innovative features designed into the product not only didn't create value, they saw the new features as a negative — more things to break down.
Marketing, especially marketing research and marketing strategy, offer tools to help discover unmet consumer needs.
- Adoption of innovations. Marketing contains an entire sub-area related to adoption of innovations including a list of factors that increase adoption of an innovation.
- Consumer confidence. Whether consumers feel confident about their world contributes greatly to their planned purchases. When they don't feel confident, they don't buy things — it doesn't matter that things are getting better (or worse), its how consumers fell things are going.
- Positioning and target marketing. Who will be most likely to buy the innovation? What are their hot buttons — the things that drive them to buy? An entrepreneur maximizes the potential of her innovation when she clearly targets a particular segment of consumers and positions the product in a way that resonates with them.
- Other marketing concepts. Certainly, other marketing aspects impact the success of the firm in selling their products. Concepts such as psychological pricing and promotional tactics such as integrated marketing communications, influence, and social media all impact firm success.
- A clearinghouse linking entrepreneurs with marketing talent is needed. I run Ask a Marketing Expert (look for events) where every Friday anyone can ask marketing questions and get answers from experts who attend. We need a more systematic approach.
- Link university marketing departments with entrepreneurs for class projects, internships, etc.
- Offer forgiveness of student loans to marketing students who take jobs at below market salaries to help small businesses or start one.
- Encourage marketing and advertising agencies to do pro-bono work for small businesses with tax incentives.