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Innovative objects need to be used; if not, they are just inventions. Da Vinci’s works had an enormous amount of inventions, but few of them could be used in those times. The inventions that made him famous were the ones that were used. The rest were inexistent.
Innovations must be experienced. But in order to experience them, they need to be “promoted”. That is why innovations can only be accepted after having experienced their benefits and perceived their implicit costs. And in this sense, commercial promotions are the natural way to foster the use of innovations.
Commercial promotions are needed when innovative or highly differentiated products have to be sold. People who participate in these promotions might become users or not.
Those who do not participate in these promotions rarely became “first users”. Innovations need to be experienced in order to be bought. People cannot imagine the benefits of unknown products. They need to experience them in order to perceive the benefits of a new solution.
It has to be considered that innovations are demanded but rarely bought. The higher the innovation, the more the influence that is needed in order to sell it. That is why an extreme need or scarcity must precede the proposal of an innovation. People will buy something new if their needs are extreme.
The paradox is that on the one hand, products need to have a significant differentiation in order to compete with other alternatives, but on the other hand, this required differentiation needs to avoid having an innovation that cannot be recognized by the potential buyer.
The first automobile was a carriage with an engine. People could not have recognized a modern Mercedes. Presenting a Mercedes in those times would have had the same results as most of Da Vinci’s inventions at his time.
How promotions work
Promotion, itself, is the process within which an individual experiences a given demonstration of a product, within a high level of participation, with a low risk of personal commitment and supported by a brand that is functional to the product.
The explicit objective of such promotion is that of making the prospect become, even if temporarily, an actual customer.
Experiential Activity – the key to innovation
When the brand has a mean value and does not determine a purchasing action, the experience is the natural path for the individual to prioritize the product’s -or service’s- functional aspects.
There is no way to achieve that individuals with a high preconception dose participate in experiences. It is fundamental that the experience be the result of an individual’s need.
Therefore, the experience strategy is fundamental for products of a mean brand and for innovating products (where the brand, regardless of its power, is not enough).
Experience implies the scale repetition of the product benefits in such a way that the prospect “takes it with him/her”. The experiential activity is promotion at its maximum. It is the promotion per excellence, where the individual participates in experiencing the product, which makes him/her, temporarily, the user of such product.
When this level of promotion is reached, a high percentage of sales closings may be achieved in the promotion itself. It requires a brand with a high ethical content (utopical) and a very pleasant experience.
Some examples of how commercial promotions are used to foster innovation:
• Free samples of remedies
• Test drives
• Trial versions of software
• Software beta-tests
Access more information on innovations at: http://www.unicist.org/deb_int.shtml
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