Blog | April 11, 2022

How Do You Innovate?


By Perry Rearick, Chief Editor, Follow Your Buyer


Thought for the Week—How do you innovate?  

For much of my life I thought innovation was reserved for inventors and creative types who turned their own imaginings into useful things. Then Steve Jobs transformed it into a business model by innovating around the customer experience.

I recall a conversation I had a few years ago with a research and development leader at consumer goods giant, Proctor & Gamble (P&G). American homes are filled with P&G products. I asked him what their secret sauce was, how do they consistently come-up with consumer innovations? His answer: knowing the consumer!

Do you remember when Tide was a dense powder and came in very large, heavy cardboard boxes? Each load of wash required a heaping cup of detergent. Since then, it has been transformed to a concentrated liquid and then convenient pods that can fit in the palm of your hand.

To do this, my R&D friend said they needed direct observation of their customers washing their clothes: every detailed step, where they stored the soap, and the difficult process of adding it to the washing machine. This deep understanding of the consumer enables P&G to create innovative products that make their customers’ lives better and easier.

B2B companies can take a lesson from the P&G playbook. How well do you know your customers, their processes, the details of their workday, and their greatest challenges? What is keeping them from achieving success and how can you help?

This week, when you think about innovating, think about knowing your buyer.

I hope you have a great week!