The importance of innovation for businesses. Part 2: Why digital innovation is crucial for digital marketing.

In Part 1 I explained why I have a particular interest in innovation and why innovation is important to companies and organisations more generally. In this part I'll cover the specifics - why digital innovation and transformation are important to companies in the marketing field and some of the tactics you could adopt to improve innovation in your work and personal life.

Why is innovation so important to a digital marketing agency like Bolser?

It's a competitive market

This sector is highly competitive with many companies claiming to offer a wide range of digital services. There are almost no barriers to creating a digital marketing business - it only takes a few minutes and access to the internet to become a digital expert and to create a website showcasing your work as a digital marketing agency.

To help differentiate ourselves, at Bolser we spend a lot of time, energy and money on innovation and new ideas that make us stand apart from other less well established businesses.

We win and keep major blue-chip companies as clients because of our excellent reputation in delivering highly complex digital marketing projects. For example, Xbox have used us to deliver digital work at the very edge of current technology, they trust us to deliver world first innovation, and to do it well.

Competition eats margins

As a technology becomes more mainstream, more and more companies claim they can deliver on it. We were one of the first to write mobile apps back in 2007, even before the app store on Apple existed.

We did geo-location and augmented reality for Sony 6 years ago, in 2013. As these areas mature, prices lower, constant innovation helps us stay ahead of the “commodity curve” of downward prices.

Customers change and demand the best

People expect more of organisations, for example expectations of service, technology and delivery are constantly being driven by exposure to the best in the world. Once you have used the Uber app, you demand a higher standard from all apps even in completely different areas like financial services.

By being a driver of change we can help our clients meet the expectations of their customers and stay relevant to their needs.

Employees love working on new things

People are motivated by working on new, ground-breaking ideas and (digital) technology. Scarce, highly paid, highly employable people, really value working on new things.

Developers and programmers love a challenge, so the more we innovate, the more chance we have of attracting the best talent and keeping them once they are here.

Clients need innovation

Many of our biggest clients are in a process of digital transformation themselves, they need to innovate and change to stay ahead of the competition, moving from old models and communication channels to new ones. We help drive this forward, and happy clients mean a long term future for our business.

As a consequence we spend a lot of time and money on innovation, but it’s not always easy to get senior management to see the value, especially if the payback is over the longer term.

How can your organisation become more innovative?

I always say that the first step is to become innovative yourself. “Blue sky” innovation is very rare, so why not try a simple technique to first get you in the right frame of mind?

One way to do this is to note 10 new ideas a day over the course of a week or so. It’s much harder than it first appears, especially after a couple of days. These new ideas shouldn’t be restricted to work, they can cover home personal or family life too.

The great thing is that these are not New Year’s resolutions, so you don’t have to implement them, just think them. Keep at it and your idea muscles will flourish.

Here's a list of things to do to help innovation and creativity:

  • Always record your ideas, the worst thing is to have great ideas and then forget them at a later date.
  • Get collaborative, great ideas often come in response to other ideas - to produce the best innovation, get different personalities and functions involved.
  • Ask questions to define the problems, ask “why”, “what” and “why not” before the inevitable “how much”?
  • Stay inspired, there are always better ways to do things, don’t allow the inevitable setbacks to spoil your creativity.
  • Look at the best, then copy the best bits to suit your circumstances
  • Failure is part of the solution, and it’s inevitable, so get over it and get on with it

 

Plant a tree, now

They say the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, the second-best time is today. My advice is to start now and start with yourself, there are literally no barriers to doing that. To misquote The Shawshank Redemption “get busy innovating or get busy dying”.

Ash, Managing Director

Ash set up Bolser in 2001 and is renowned for innovation in digital marketing and cycling to work most days!