10 Things Your Competitors Can Teach You About Innovation

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Innovation in its truest sense means deviating from the existing. It’s defined as mutation, variation or an alteration from one’s original course. Thus, the term itself dictates learning from every possible person you come across while the process is underway. Is there something about innovation that your competitors can teach you? Well, yes, and this article shall explore 10 of the numerous aspects you can learn from these so-called enemies in the industry. 

1. Innovation Opportunities in the Market

This is something that you learn with experience, research and by keeping tabs on competitors. That’s exactly how innovation works! Without someone already processing a radical invention and bringing it out in the market, others don’t feel the drive or the need to create something disruptive. 

When a competitor innovates, you learn about a new, or similar idea but one that you can improve on and sell better than your competitor. Their strategic move becomes a catalyst for your brand-new idea for modernization. It might even tell you to innovate differently and avoid the failures that others have had to come across

Hence, competitors teach you about potential opportunities in the market that you could capitalize on with your innovative product or service. 

2. Different Approach

Here’s another essential question to ask prior to actualizing the idea. How would your rivals do it? When you consider innovation from different angles and viewpoints, it allows you to make alterations as required. Ask yourself the following few questions before you put your innovative idea into development:

  • Would your competitors use a similar model?
  • Would they develop something similar?
  • Is this better or worse than what they would come up with?
  • Is there something competitors could do that you haven’t done before?

These and a few more questions and answers will help you on your journey to innovation. Learning from them will help you discover opportunities and take action accordingly. 

3. Longevity of Innovations

Another piece of advice from competitors that you can learn and cash on is to identify why a similar improvement lasts longer than yours. There may have been instances where your competitors innovated better and had the product in the same market for longer. But why?

Research into the various aspects they accounted for while developing and launching the specific product or service. You will be able to learn about their successful strategies and the ones that did not do as well as intended. All of this will help you do things right the first time. Imagine how much time and effort all of this can save you!

If their innovations do last longer, find out why and adopt similar strategies or models. Competition is more than staying on the top. It’s about learning that is fostered with mutual benefit. By identifying mistakes that they have made in the past, you could essentially be saving your product from a similar backlash.

4. Marketing These Innovations Right

Audience interaction is vital when talking about customer service and loyalty building among the potential target market. Does your competitor enjoy a better relationship with their target audience? Are you lagging behind? If yes, it’s time that you identify why that is so.

Find out whether they are responsive to customer queries and if they are outdoing you in this particular arena. Do they have customer-friendly policies that you don’t have? 

Next up, how do these competitors market their newly developed products? What channels do they prefer most? How is the response rate from all of these channels?

When you ask these questions, you are able to identify what you may be lacking and doing wrong that others have sorted. This is exactly how you learn about your shortcomings and cash on their strengths. 

5. Social Media Marketing

Following from the previous point, this one covers a somewhat similar discussion. Let’s assume that you don’t use social media, while your competitors do. Firstly, you have been playing at a major disadvantage. In the digital era of today, social media marketing is imperative. Businesses can’t do without Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. If you did not embrace social media, you have had it wrong all along!

Learn from your competitors’ use of social media. Observe their social media profiles and pages and understand how online marketing works for them and their innovations. Identify what they have done right while keeping an eye out for failures on these profiles. There is a whole lot that you can learn such as:

  • Brand continuity across platforms
  • How do followers respond to innovations?
  • What content keeps the audience hooked?
  • What type of content ensures minimum engagement?
  • How often do these rivals bring out fresh content?
  • How do followers like this content?

6. Pricing

By taking the pricing of your competitors’ innovations into account, you can get some help with deciding a price for your next best innovative product or service. Pricing can take numerous factors into consideration, but at the end of the day, it needs to be competitive for your product or service to thrive.

Another reason to look at your competitors’ pricing is to see how much impact price has on such an innovation’s demand. This is the more critical question at hand.

If they had something similar priced slightly higher, did it sell okay? What margins were achieved? Is the product still in demand? How did it impact the customer’s purchase decision? These questions will help you make the correct decision regarding price and margins. 

This is similar to learning from your competitors’ mistakes. You can learn from their pricing nightmares as well!

7. Momentum Is a Must

Momentum is basically traction or motion of a business. Any particular aspect of a business can be called its momentum. It’s something favorable. Competitors can teach you how powerful momentum can be when it comes to new product development.

For instance, you can take the example of giants in the market. Innovations by companies like Apple and Amazon have shown how momentum can be powerful for businesses. You can learn how to cash on your momentum, but before you could do that, you must discover yours. Is it sales, profit margins, social media or something you have yet to discover?

8. Watch Your Step

Competitors can teach you another essential lesson, that is, always watch your step. Their presence in the market threatens your existence, survival, and growth. If you are not aware of what potential harm they could pose to your business, you will be surprised when one of these bad guys captures your share of the market!

You might think only a fool would allow that to happen, but you would be surprised to know how easy it is to forget about your competitors. You must be aware of their strategic moves at all times and take prompt action accordingly. Losing track of your competitor’s movements can turn out to be nasty, to say the least. Watch your step, and don’t let their innovations outrun yours. 

9. Never Lose Faith

If modernization turns out bad, don’t be disappointed! It’s all part of the game. Some days the sun shines brighter, while other days, you might not see it at all. No matter what, you have got to keep your faith alive. Innovations can take years, sometimes decades, to perfect, but patience and hard work pay off eventually.

All you need to do is exercise faith and patience. Learn from other competitors who have tried and failed a couple of times. Nothing stopped them from trying again, so what will possibly stop you? Nothing should come in the way of your development. You will get to the finish line when the time is right and it’s your turn to shine.

10. Don’t Look Down on Yourself

One aspect of this learning is to never look down on yourself, even during the most bizarre of failures! Competitors struggle just as much as you do. They might face failures at a somewhat different rate than you, but it’s all the same for companies operating in the market. Learn from failures – yours and theirs. Make things right, and don’t give up!

What would have happened if Steve Jobs gave up or Bill Gates lost hope every time they failed? Failure is part of life; learn from it and rise above it. It gets better with time. This is a lesson you might learn the hard way but is an essential one for innovations. 

Final Words

In the end, you must remember that competitors provide the best source of learning about the various aspects mentioned here. Learn from them and avoid making the same mistakes they made with innovations. You’ll surely have a different yet better outcome originating from your efforts.

Maria Ilyas

A writer by profession, Maria Ilyas is an eCommerce and digital marketing enthusiast and is always digging into the latest marketing trends, best practices, and growth strategies.

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