In many B2B markets what was once a unique product or service is soon copied, often by low cost producers, making it a commodity and driving down the price. The challenge then is generating creative new product ideas on an ongoing basis.
However, there is a problem concisely put by Claire Mason in a ManBitesDog post ‘despite the critical importance of ideas-led selling, B2B marketers face an uphill struggle to generate the big ideas their organisations need. Four in five marketing leaders believe that B2B marketing is facing a crisis of creativity according to our latest research’.
So what is the solution? The obvious may be to poll the views of the sales department or ask your customers but both routes have their problems. What is required is a person (or better still a group) with both an in depth understanding of the market and its needs and the creativity to deliver a product or service that offers a unique solution.
The problem is such people are in extremely short supply. Worse still when they do exist higher management often lacks the vision and market understanding to back them and put the resources in place to develop their concepts further. The statistics on new product failure are well known and risk-averse organisations are often unwilling to take a punt on a new product concept.
The real creative product people often are sidetracked (or promoted) into a position where they can add less value. For a company to thrive this rare resource needs to remain on the front line, interfacing with customers, intermediaries and sales and marketing.
If that elusive person with the creative vision and the market knowledge can be found they should be backed, rewarded appropriately, and left in the position where they can deliver the most value to the new product innovation process.