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Area of innovation :: You can only pick one

Quality. Convenience. Price. You can only pick one.

Your area of innovation is the thing you are known for… the way you stand out from others who do something similar. It’s the focal point of your work to improve, differentiate, and stand out in the market.

Maybe you’re known for the high level of quality in your work. Your designs are amazing or your technical knowledge is spot on. Perhaps you’re known for having the most economical packages or the lowest hourly rate. Or maybe convenience is your thing – with most jobs done in just a day or a week… or even an hour.

Your area of innovation is a type of marketing promise you make to potential clients… and if you want to be believable, you can only pick one.

What do I mean by this? Well…

You CAN promise to design and build an amazing custom site (quality) in just a week (convenience) for less than anyone else in the market (price). But no one will believe you. Because it sounds too good to be true. We KNOW that quality takes time, that rush jobs cost more, and that inexpensive typically means template.

Consumers are just too savvy to fall for it. You won’t be believable, and you won’t be successful.

So, let’s look at each of these areas of innovation one at a time… and identify the one that makes the most sense for you and your business.

QUALITY :: CUSTOM, DETAILED, BUILT TO LAST

Let’s talk about some brands that have quality as their area of innovation. You might think of luxury brands like Lexus, Coach, or Versace. But quality isn’t always luxurious. Brands like LL Bean or Duluth Trading Company are positioned for their durability, comfort, and quality craftsmanship. Brands such as Apple and IBM are positioned for quality too. They provide software based solutions that account for every detail of our needs and deliver intuitive service.

All of these companies innovate around the idea of quality. They look for ways to continually increase the quality of their products, the experience they offer to their customers, and the way their services are delivered. As a customer, we expect to pay more for this quality… and we are prepared to wait for it too. (In the case of Apple, we might even sleep on the sidewalk.)

Are you interested in building a quality brand? Align your marketing promises around the quality you provide. Highlight your custom designs, your technological expertise, and the experience you provide for your clients. Innovate in ways that improve the quality of your offerings and the experience you give to your customers.

Build value into the experience you provide for your customers. Help them feel connected to you, supported by you, and as if they are your only client.Take care of all the details… and put your best effort into building solutions that last. Make sure you don’t cut corners or miss anything important. Go the extra mile…

Charge more + make sure you allow extra time in your production timeline to make all this quality profitable for you! Align your price with the quality you deliver… because the big ticket is part of what makes your promise of quality believable.

When you’re properly positioned and sharing a message of quality and high value, clients expect you to charge more… and they expect the work to take a bit longer. Raising your price and taking twelve weeks to launch instead of one will actually reinforce your positioning and lead to more sales.

CONVENIENCE :: EASY, QUICK, SIMPLE

So, let’s consider brands with convenience as their area of innovation. One of the first to pop in my head is the fast food giant McDonald’s. This is dinner as conveniently as it comes. Just pack up all the kids in the SUV and run through the drive thru on your way to someone’s school play or that last basketball game of the season. Several orders of McNuggets and a Quarter Pounder meal for Dad and we’re all happy. Ten minutes to full tummies. #Convenience. (Did you think price? Um… have you ever fed a tribe at Mickey D’s? Dinner at home is much cheaper… trust me.)

Convenience is why we take a cab instead of the bus. We want to go from the airport directly to the hotel with our bags safely in the trunk. Sure, it costs a bit more… and it’s certainly not a quality experience. But it’s pretty easy.

A professional lawn service will keep my grass clean and mowed. A cleaning service will keep my bathtub sparkling and dog hair off of my carpet. It costs less to do these tasks on my own. I might do a better job too (although some may question it) but you can’t beat the convenience.

So, what about you? Are you all about making things simple for your clients? Align your brand and your marketing promises about how easy it is to work with you.

You make the technology simple. Clients can trust you with their online business hub and forget the details. If they need a website in a hurry – or need to get things up and running quickly to take advantage of a market condition – you can handle it. You innovate in ways that simplify your services and make things easy for your clients.

Create systems, templates, and back-end processes that allow you to serve clients quickly and efficiently. Offer your clients simple packages, easy to understand services, and quick production timelines. Tie your marketing to time based messages (site in a day, month of maintenance, Online in one week, etc.)

Keep your prices on the high end of competitive. Streamline your systems so you can offer consistent quality while protecting your profitability. Be careful to limit the scope of your work and keep your time-based promises.

When you’re properly positioned and sharing a message of convenience, your potential clients expect your price to be fair. They know they are paying for your attention and your expertise. They expect consistent quality, but know they are not paying for custom work. It’s okay to use templates and limit the range of their choices. But – make sure you keep your time based promises. Provide an experience that truly is fast and easy… and you’ll corner your market.

PRICE :: ECONOMICAL, AFFORDABLE, GOOD VALUE.

What does it mean to position yourself according to price? Providing good service and good value at the lowest possible price while protecting your own profitability. To really dive into this one, let’s consider the WalMart business model.

I personally enjoy shopping at WalMart. I like the low prices and the consistent, middle of the road quality. Sure, there aren’t a lot of choices. I might have three options for mayonnaise. I might not find my favorite brand of cookie or oriental cooking oil. But I can get the everyday things I need in life at a bargain and that’s good enough for me. My local store is not overly convenient. The lines are long sometimes and it can be a bit dirty in the corners. It’s not a quality experience… it’s just WalMart. I go there for the price.

Why does WalMart limit choice and keep their stores kind of bare bones and utilitarian? Profitability. They know that streamlined, efficient, and plain are required if they are going to make money and still have the lowest prices in town.

You can align your business (and your marketing promises) to this model. You can innovate around price, looking for ways to offer decent quality services and deliverables in the simplest, most efficient, most cost effective way possible.

Create templates for design/development. Limit options. Offer streamlined “site in a box” services that get the job done without frills or fanciness. Keep your business model plain, and the base package simple – and add individually priced options if you like so that people can “scale up” or expand their package easily.

Be careful to increase price when you add custom features, additional calls or interaction with you, or rapid delivery. Remember, affordable is basic. Extras like faster delivery or multiple options always cost more.

When you’re properly positioned and sharing a message of affordability, people appreciate your low prices. They love having an entry level option, and they see the value in properly executed basics. Make sure you give lots of detail about what’s included (and what’s not) and that you increase your pricing when the scope increases so you stay profitable.

What resonates with you? Quality, Convenience, or Price?

In order to maximize your results, you truly need to pick just one and align your business (and your marketing) to it. Can you add elements of the others here or there? Sure. For example, my business is aligned around quality. But, I understand the need for convenience as well and I try to make it easy for my clients to work with me. However, I don’t work quickly and I’m not cheap.

You can offer a low price option and still build a lot of quality into it… just as long as you don’t provide customization or extra options. You can offer convenience with payment plans to make it affordable… just as long as you price increases with the level of speed required. In other words, you can mix and match… as long as your main focus and your marketing message remain consistent to the area of innovation you choose.

So, what will you choose? I’d love to hear from you. Share your area of innovation in the comments or post in the Drama Free Design Facebook Group and tag me. Let’s talk about it.

Your area of innovation is the primary method you use to differentiate yourself in your marketplace. It’s the thing you are known for as a designer or freelancer… the way you stand out from others who do something similar. Click through to learn more...

3 Responses to Area of innovation :: You can only pick one

  1. Is the innovation like a Unique Value Proposition? Below is my UVP … does it sounds like my “innovation”?

    You want more customers!

    We build websites for Milwaukee area businesses that stand out from your competition, get noticed by Google and steer more customers to your door.

    Work with us and you’ll get
    – Modern, visually stunning website that looks professional from desktop to mobile.
    – Better ranking on Google so your target market can find you.
    – Ongoing performance monitoring to make sure your business goals aren’t forgotten.

  2. Hi!

    Area of Innovation is a bit different from UVP. Your UVP is the way you use your AOI to get results for your clients. Based on what I see here… your area of innovation is quality. You try to continually improve your service in order to improve the quality of results you give your clients. You also try to improve your customer’s experience so that they enjoy working with you more and more all the time. Every improvement you make (innovation) is designed to add quality to your client.

    Rather than quality, you could select Price as your area of innovation. In that case, you would constantly seek ways to make your pricing more competitive and economical for your clients. In that case, your UVP would highlight the high level of value you provide for a relatively low investment… you would talk about how you are less expensive than your competition or provide more results for the same or lower investment.

    If your area of innovation was convenience, it would mean you continually look for ways to make things easier for your clients. You’d be all about streamlining processes, creating ease in the experience, and doing things faster and more responsively. Your UVP would highlight this and position you as the fastest or most efficient or easiest to work with.

    Does that help clarify things? Nice UVP by the way. 🙂
    Michelle

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