BLOG: I = C + Ps !
Author: Harm Custers – Head of Marketing at Takii Europe B.V.
The company I work for differs from the competition by the value strategy of product leadership. It has taken Takii quite far: after 185 years, it is still a healthy company with growth and market leadership in various vegetable and flower crops.
The development of products stands central in Product Leadership. The company excels in its area because it supplies “the best” product on the market. Quality and innovation are crucial elements; there are considerable investments in research and development. In such companies, it is challenging yet exciting to work as a marketer and to contribute to the understanding of true innovation.
Often a product is seen as the starting point in development and sales. The emphasis is on the benefits offered to the customer. But how well do we know our customer (groups)? Are we asking the right questions, and are we able to listen carefully? Are we able to translate this internally into our future innovations?
Nowadays, I often ask the same essential question when discussing innovation. A simple question, yet difficult to answer! Initially, this might lead to some vague reactions, but in the end, it often leads to valuable insights. The important question is: “What problem does it solve for the customer?”.
It does not matter which product or service you develop or sell as long as it solves a serious problem or inconvenience to the customer. You do not create a need with your product, but you fulfil the needs of the customer. The customer’s problem is the company’s right to exist!
When you focus on solving these problems, and do this in combination with your own distinctive added value, you are an interesting partner for customers. And do not forget to make the target group aware that they have a (latent) problem, because they may not yet realize it themselves!
Innovation concerns the efforts to work as an organization on new products and services. Innovation should result in creating value for customers. Which means that not every change, improvement or adjustment is an innovation: only if there is sufficient added value.
In fact, this (non-scientific) formula – that I recently saw passing by – says it all: I = C + Ps
To Innovate = know Customer + Problem solving