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Innovation and marketing: the keys to success

Legendary US business brain Peter Drucker spelt out the basis for business success or growth in terms of two must do’s — innovation and marketing. And when you think about it, it makes perfect sense but many business owners ignore the obvious.

Tim Pethick did it with Nudie — make juice better for you and charge more. That was the innovation and then he unleashed a tribal marketing strategy spearheaded by purple vans and a cute little Nudie guy.

Truth is the innovation started overseas when he surveyed what was working there and he cashed in on being the first adopter here.

John Symond innovated with Aussie Home Loans and marketed with “At Aussie we’ll save you”. Edward De Bono says great business achievers are lateral thinkers and that helps them stand out from the crowd with innovations and marketing.

US business thinker and speaker, Doug Hall, is an “ideas man” and it’s not just pie-in-the-sky stuff. Hall has a history with Fortune 500 companies, but a couple years ago the US Department of Commerce nominated his ideas generating system for a series of events across the US.

“It's really crazy,” he told me. “I never would have guessed that the Government would be one of my biggest clients.”

The program involves 59 events across the US and they are flying a couple of hundred people to Cincinnati to get trained as a first step.

“They are projecting that they will do a minimum of 10,000 sessions a year - generating $100 billion in tangible ideas for growth,” he said. “The Department of Commerce feels that unless small and medium size businesses get their act together on choices for growth – the US is in serious trouble as a nation.”

While other businesses are on the hunt for the one big idea that will turbo charge their business into the fast lane, Hall’s business is about generating lots of ideas that will translate into growth.

“We help corporate leaders and real world entrepreneurs develop measurably smarter choices for growth,” he explains. “Our focus is top line growth – it can come from marketing, sales, new markets, customers, products, services or business models.”

The media has tagged him an ideas guru but he thinks he is simply someone who likes to challenge leaders to dream big and simultaneously dig into the details.

Hall thinks that growth is not just something that happens but is a product of a systematic approach to finding the ideas that will generate growth.

“When it comes to growth, we need to put some science and discipline into it,” he said. “Dr W. Edwards Deming – the father of Total Quality said five per cent of the opportunity for improvement was on the factory floor – the biggest opportunity for applying systemic discipline was in growth planning and leadership.”

Business owners are famous for working in their business and not on the business and the likes of Hall and other business thinkers have an important role to play. They provide the objective eyes and the lateral thinking to help business owners generate ideas or innovations for growth.

In the USA there are businesses paying for the service of getting people to help them open up their eyes to unseen opportunities that will ultimately wind up in growth and business success.

Some never get it because they are too lousy to pay for a leg up to new ideas.

“Some business owners are brain dead and some are alive,” Hall observed. “It's grow or die in today's economy – if you're not growing you'll soon be dead.”

Published on: Friday, April 20, 2012

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