When your industry is threatened…innovate!

With various tech innovations, there comes a time when, inevitably, an industry is threatened, either with the risk of being eliminated altogether or having its status quo severely disrupted. Recently, marketing and market research have both come under this threat, with ad-blocking being introduced as part of the new iOS for iPhone and with the TCPA ruling that makes auto-dialing phone numbers a fine-able offense. If history, recent and long past, is any indication, fighting to keep these types of disruptions from happening is only effective in the short term. What is your company or industry doing in the long term to respond?

Respond with innovation

Any business student or person working in any business knows about the product life cycle. It often takes the form of a bell curve, and always ends with some form of becoming obsolete. The trick for industries and companies is to begin the innovation cycle of the curve *before* the inevitable obsoletion happens. I find it somewhat surprising that people seem to think a certain way of doing things or a certain product will remain viable forever. Even physics rules determine what goes up must come down.

So what can marketers and market researchers alike do to respond to the threats facing their industries?


That’s so much easier said than done.

Or is it?

Perhaps, instead of becoming comfortable in how we are doing something today, we should become used to always thinking two of even three steps ahead. We should always be asking, “If something were to happen tomorrow that kept me from doing my job the same way that I’m doing it today, how could I still meet my and my client’s business needs?” We should actively be seeking new ways to approach the same business problems. We should be more open to adopting new technology. And we should be ready to show our clients how a new approach can often bring about higher business value.

Reality is, as Ray Poynter indicated earlier this year, change is not only going to keep coming, it’s going to be coming faster and faster. The only way to respond then, is to start thinking and acting ahead of the curve, looking for ways to adopt or create new technology that will allow us to still meet business and research needs. Introducing that culture now instead of when the way you’re currently doing business is threatened might well be difficult, but it can reap immense rewards in feeling more secure in the future.

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