As the economic recovery continues, many companies are focusing on innovation to grow their businesses. Innovation serves as the benchmark at companies like Apple, but the ideal of becoming an innovative organization seems be shrouded in mystery.
Innovation is not meant to be only for a select few organizations. In the book The Innovator’s DNA published by Harvard Business Review Press, the authors outline the following characteristics that managers can focus on to generate innovation:
In 2008, Steve Jobs was quoted in Fortune magazine saying that “Apple is a $30 billion company yet we’ve got less than 30 major products. I don’t know if that’s ever been done before.” In addition, in a Wall Street Journal interview, current Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked about what he learned from Jobs. Cook responded, “Focus is key … that you can only do so many things great, and cast aside everything else.”
Recently, Cook has been quoted as saying, “We are in one of the most prolific periods of innovation and new products in Apple’s history.” These new products include Apple Maps, the iPad mini and the MacBook Pro with Retina display, as well as updates to hits like the iPhone and iPod lineup. In addition, Apple is rumored to be developing a radio service as well as a TV product.
With the success of Apple based on its category-creating innovations like the iPod, iPhone and iPad, companies are focusing more heavily on developing their own innovations. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal reported the following statistics on the growth of innovation:
- A search of annual and quarterly reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows companies mentioned some form of the word “innovation” 33,528 times last year, which was a 64% increase from five years before that.
- More than 250 books with “innovation” in the title have been published in the last three months, most of them dealing with business, according to a search of Amazon.com
- Four in 10 executives say their company now has a chief innovation officer, according to a recent study of the phenomenon released last month by Capgemini Consulting.
On May 16th, The Wall Street Journal reported that General Motors would stop advertising on Facebook since the auto maker felt that advertising didn’t have a major impact on auto purchases. GM’s CMO Joel Ewanick said that “GM is definitely reassessing our advertising on Facebook, although the content is effective and important.”
In a meeting during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in June, Mr. Ewanick and Facebook’s Head of Sales Carolyn Everson discussed that Facebook would be willing to provide GM with better data on how its ads could be more effective at producing auto sales, but GM said that it would only return to Facebook advertising if Facebook could better prove the effectiveness of its advertising. (continue reading…)
On May 2, YouTube made its first appearance at the annual TV upfront. The website has signed up celebrities including Amy Poehler, Rainn Wilson and Jay-Z, among others, to create channels of its own original programming to compete with traditional television.
According to a recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek, YouTube is “…funding filmmakers, artists, writers and proven online hitmakers with grants that range from a few hundred thousand to a few million dollars.” YouTube will invest $100 million total in this program. Starting in July, the website plans to have 25 hours of programming daily. (continue reading…)
Today, social media marketing is everywhere, but marketers can be hugely successful by practicing another kind of social marketing. That social marketing is using marketing to solve social problems. Consider the following examples:
It is no secret that consumers are increasingly using smartphones, tablets and computers to watch TV shows online. Media researcher SNL Kagan estimates that households that use online video instead of paying for TV service will grow to nearly 4% by the end of 2011, up from 2% in 2010, in the $30 billion cable TV industry.
Since consumers have gotten in the habit of receiving media content online for free or at a lower cost, cable TV content providers and distributors are adjusting their business models so they can remain profitable.
One idea adopted by companies like Comcast and Time Warner is “TV Everywhere.” In this model, consumers are able to watch shows online as long as they are a traditional cable TV subscriber. But according to The Wall Street Journal, “TV Everywhere” has been slow in gaining popularity because some TV channel owners want to be paid extra to provide their shows over the Internet – as a result only select shows are shown online.
Another popular alternative is Hulu – a website offering free TV shows that is a partnership between Walt Disney, Comcast and News Corp. According to The Wall Street Journal, some media executives value Hulu since it gives content creators direct access to consumers compared to working with cable and satellite distribution companies as well as an online alternative to offering shows through Apple’s iTunes and Amazon.com.
Although Hulu is a free site, consumers can subscribe to Hulu Plus for $7.99 to receive premium content; Hulu Plus currently has more than one million customers. Hulu Plus is a new revenue stream for content creators but also puts them at risk of angering the distributors, who are their biggest customers since the service can be seen as competition.
As consumers continue to increase their use of mobile devices and consume media online, TV content creators and cable companies will need to evaluate their business model to remain profitable and relevant.
Ed Samide is a Senior Account Manager at Domus, Inc., a marketing communications agency based in Philadelphia. For more information, visit http://www.domusinc.com. For new business inquiries, please contact CEO and founder of Domus, Inc. Betty Tuppeny at email@example.com or 215-772-2805.
Just as social marketing has reshaped the communications industry, social gaming companies are transforming the video game industry. Leading this transformation is Zynga, maker of popular games such as FarmVille and CityVille.
Zynga’s model has key differences which separate it from traditional video game manufacturers. Zynga offers its games for free through Facebook but makes money by selling “virtual goods” that allow people to perform better in the game. According to The Wall Street Journal, 95% of users play for free while the remaining 5% spend from hundreds to thousands of dollars per month. Sales of virtual goods have given Zynga revenue of $600 million in 2010 including $91 million in profits.
Daily Deal sites like Groupon and Living Social can cause problems for a business due to hurting its’ profitability, brand and relationship with customers.
With a discount offer, the business is probably appealing to customers that purchase on price. It is unlikely customers will come back to the business in the future to purchase products and services at full value. In a column on AdAge.com, Al Ries, the famous marketing consultant, states:
“Presumably, all those consumers who bought products and services for 50% off are going to be happy to return to their local retailers and return to buy those same products and services at full prices. That’s not going to happen. What is going to happen is that those same consumers are going to go back to Groupon and wait for the next 50%-off sale.”
I’m sure many of you have used Groupon, Living Social or one of the other local daily deal sites. Of those of you who have, how many of you have returned to that business to purchase the same product or service at full price? My guess is not many.
As economists predict slow growth for the U.S. economy over the next few years, companies are turning to emerging markets such as Africa, Brazil, China, India and Russia to grow their business.
This week, Coca-Cola announced that it will be making a $4 billion investment in China over the next three years. Coca-Cola’s sales in China grew 24% in the most recent quarter; in addition, China is Coke’s third largest market. Coke CEO Muhtar Kent stated, “We don’t see China only as a great growth market. We see China as a future market for further innovation that will benefit our business globally.”