Last week we talked about how creativity is often an invaluable trait for those wanting to be successful in marketing. This quality is a requirement due to intense competition, changing customer needs and other factors, which force marketers to be continually on the lookout for new opportunities. How much time and effort a marketer should invest in finding new opportunities will certainly depend on the business. For well-funded companies, with large marketing budgets and employees whose main job is to research potential new markets, looking for new ideas is a full-time effort. Smaller marketers, who may not have the luxury of a staff dedicated to research, may not be able to afford to spend time each week looking for something new. However, they still need to be watchful of new developments by keeping in close contact with their current customers to see what seems to be capturing their interest, or use other methods, such as watching news sites and social media, to see what they can learn.
The true test of being innovative is to have a product that is at the forefront of an emerging market or at least not too far behind. Unfortunately, this is very easy to say, but often difficult to do. As we noted in a previous post, it is often tricky to determine whether a developing market holds viable long-term potential or is just a fad. Jumping in too late may mean a marketer has missed the market while jumping in too early for a market that never takes off can prove to be an expensive mistake. So making the decision to enter or hold off is one of the more difficult marketing decisions organizations face.
Another example of a market that may or may not have long-term potential is discussed in this story from Advertising Age. It reports on the growing market for cooking products targeted to children. Sensing that a new market is evolving, marketers are addressing this with a number of new products including kid-size stainless steel cookware, television programs, magazines, as well as pretend kitchens. The story suggests demand in this market can, in some ways, be attributed to the efforts of the Food Network cable channel. Their shows, featuring children in cooking situations, may be helping to frame cooking as an activity for girls and boys of any age.
If it turns out kids are accepting cooking as a fun activity, then marketers should expect this market to be much more than a fad and getting in too late may be costly.