What Inspires Customer Innovation by Marion Debruyne #ESOMAR #MRX


esomarLive blogging from #ESOMAR Congress 2014 in Nice, France. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

What Inspires Customer Innovation? by Marion Debruyne, Author of ‘Customer Innovation’ and Professor in Marketing Strategy & Innovation, Vlerick Business School, Belgium

  • Lot of focus on reducing costs, we’ve squeezed as much as we can out of operations; now the focus is back to the topline – new markets, new products, better penetration, more relevant offers
  • Challenges – customer centricity, innovation, performance
  • Are we in pole position to help our customers address challenges? Are we their key ally?
  • How to innovate and re-invent to bring new solutions to customers?
  • Create touch points for immediate feedback [Concus does this – they force you to answer a 4 item survey EVERY SINGLE TIME you go on their site. it’s annoying. BUT, A&W has a kiosk at the counter you can use if you wish. Voluntary is key!]
  • use crowdsourcing to capture quick consumer opinions
  • [Mention of patients like me – odd to hear this mentioned as a discussion board with no mention of the HUGE privacy controversy from them]
  • Are you stopping yourself from reinventing and innovating?
  • Competence enhancing innovation – exploit existing skills, more sophisticated approaches to build on what you’re already doing, seen as opportunities
  • Competence destroying innovation – seen as a threat, cannibalizes existing business,  don’t like to shoot yourself in the fear, fear of cannibalizing is the number one fear, don’t want to invest here, rational developed in the 80s, know your core competencies and build on them isn’t always the best idea
  • Threat – biggest threats are the ones you don’t see coming, firms lose their leadership position by listening to customers, aren’t customers always right? They’re just asking for more and better of the same. Means we don’t see what is happening outside of that world.  [Hear again – listen to your NONusers!]
  • Managers think of only 3 to 7 companies as their competitors. We pay minute attention to these people but if someone outside that set does the same, we don’t pay attention to it. We think it’s more credible if a competitor does it. More attention, more relevance, more credibility if an innovation comes from a competitor even when the same thing is done by someone we don’t consider to be a competitor.
  • Change is always on the periphery. Smart competitors know this. They won’t attack you doing the same thing you’ve always done.
  • Judo strategy – Different weight categories and an open category. An 80 kl guy can fight a 120 kl guy. The smaller guy can still win. Judo means you use the weight of your opponent to your own advantage.
  • Why aren’t WE that Judo company?
  • Be customer focused but consider what you accomplish for them – it’s not photography, it’s memories.
  • Follow the user and everything else will follow – connect but don’t fall into the trap
  • Constantly innovate – but don’t fall into the competency trap or the competitor trap
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