Successful innovations usually combine something familiar with something new to address an emerging need – looking towards the future through the lens of a particular group’s needs, as well as a category as it exists today.
How can we apply this innovation process to “rising” targets or audiences, who are somewhat unknown to marketers? Rising target groups vary by type of business, region, and a host of other factors. We may focus on growing ethnic groups within particular countries and regions, such as the MIST countries – Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea and Turkey. Furthermore, we can target people in certain life stages and situations: ‘Silvers,’ or older consumers; new mothers; the middle class and affluent in Africa; or singles in China. There are also attitudinal audiences available– those with a health and sustainability focus, or people we refer to as “influentials” and ”leading edge consumers.”
Regardless of the group and how it is defined, we must begin by understanding the characteristics of that group – move to define their needs, and finally see what meaningful innovations we might provide.
To innovate successfully, you need a systematic process that is forward looking, explores both inside out and outside in. This creatively translates insights into successful business innovation and requires that we understand our target’s needs very deeply (that’s the “inside out” part). Only then can we marry that understanding to key macro trends, emerging innovation in different categories, and other outside factors that can influence the future.
Good innovations revolve around a framework. Innovation is the promise of a new benefit bundle that brings value. We see waves of benefit activity:
In a given client’s category, we map where they are and where they are moving. Then we match their business against the four cornerstone drivers of buying decisions: security, well being, gratification and freedom. That helps us understand lags between what either well-known or emerging consumer segments actually need and the opportunity.
A key output of all of this is a future market map. This gives you the emotional territory, links to benefit dimensions and identifies tipping points of news.. It allows us to know what is needed for each need state and by segment, as well as the intensity of need. Linking it back to needs is really the key tactic.
Rising target groups, rising needs – innovation examples in the US
Lisa Gudding is EVP of GfK's Consumer Goods. For more information please contact her at email@example.com
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