The Key to Results-Oriented Innovation


Have you ever introduced an innovation to your customers and wondered why you were so excited about it but they were not?

Was it because they did not understand your vision? Or, could it have been they really did understand it, but the innovation didn’t do anything for them?

This post will outline how you can develop an innovation that impacts your customers as well as explain how to make sure your customers understand what the innovation is.

Focus on the Benefit to the Customer

When we start out considering whether we want to develop an innovation, it’s wise to start with the customer.

We want to ask ourselves, “What does this mean to our customers? What is the benefit of this innovation for our customers?” If we cannot develop an answer to those questions, we need to abandon that innovation and start working on another one that has a definite benefit to our customers.

Stay Away from Bells and Whistles, i.e., the Sizzle

All too often we are quick to implement an innovation that will generate a lot of sizzle. It may create interest in our company and its products, but in the end the technology is not what our customers are buying. They are buying a solution that creates any number of defined benefits of interest to them—it increases profits, grows sales, improves lead times, decreases costs, etc.

Don’t focus on the sizzle, focus on the steak. Focus on the benefit of the innovation to the customer. That’s what will generate interest.

Communicate and Over Communicate

This cannot be overstated. Customers may not understand our innovation the first time it is presented because it makes them think differently. So we may have to present it over and over in a more thorough way.

We may need to walk them through it. Just keep communicating it until they truly understand the benefit to them.

Define the Specific Benefit Quantitatively

When communicating the benefit of this innovation, choose a benefit that can be defined with a number. Be specific. Perhaps the innovation will carry three days of lead time. Perhaps it will generate $1 million of additional revenue or $100,000 of additional profit.

Being quantitative makes our innovation concrete and gets the customer’s attention. They will be more apt to adopt the innovation when they truly understand the specific benefit as boiled down to a number.

All of us need innovations in our businesses or our customers’ decision to buy will just come down to price.

Innovations come in many forms, and the key to generating increased revenue and profit from an innovation is to understand, define, and communicate the benefit to our customers.

What has helped to create successful innovations in your print business that has created increased revenue and profits?

What other types of learning have worked for you in your print business?


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