All Companies Need To Innovate Like Tech Companies


On Marketing, Contributor

March 18, 2015

This article is by Alan Gellman, CMO of Esurance.

I’ve never liked shopping. I get frustrated looking for parking, bored at the selection and impatient while trying things on. So when a targeted email from Joseph A. Banks spared me a trip to the department store for a coat last winter, I was thrilled.

Technology often delivers solutions even before I identify an inconvenience, causing me to ask myself, “What did I ever do before?”

I’m hardly alone in this observation. Technology’s propensity for pre-solving our problems has shaped a generation of consumers who don’t just expect companies to meet their expectations – but to set them.

At SXSW Interactive, hundreds of exhibitions, events and panels remind us that tech companies aren’t the only ones held to these standards today. It’s no longer enough for insurance companies to just sell insurance, or Pepsi soda, or McDonald’s food.

To stay competitive in the modern world, all companies need to innovate like tech companies. And the savviest among them are following some of these rules.

1. Simplify the Complex

At its best, technology brings practicality to our complex lives.

Take it from the numerous brands touting wearable technology at SXSWi. By streamlining data collection and analytics, wearable makers are simplifying everything from communication to shopping.

Continually untangling the consumer experience is crucial, whether or not a company has proprietary technology at its fingertips.

When we entered the homeowners insurance market, the process was littered with complex questions like “What kind of roof do you have?” Today, people are simply asked to pick from a series of pictures.

TurboTax tackled a similar problem by transforming the tedious task of tax preparation into a stress-free online process.

In the digital world, bringing simplicity to people’s lives isn’t just a smart business move — it’s a competitive necessity.

2. Create Tools for Convenience

The demand for convenience is among the strongest forces shaping business today. So it’s no surprise that technology’s evolving role in the purchasing process is one of the most heavily debated questions at SXSWi.

Among online and brick-and-mortar businesses alike, few things are proving more powerful than digital tools that save people time and money.

Drug retailers Walgreens and CVS have both embraced convenience through their mobile apps, which allow people to scan and refill prescriptions in seconds.

No matter what your business, developing tools that make everyday to-dos more convenient will bring you closer to indispensible.

3. Introduce Smarter Ways of Doing Business

There’s no denying that technology is helping businesses reach bigger, broader audiences. But how are we making those audiences’ lives better? We have to invent or reinvent products, services and interactions.

Apple did this with the iPhone and iPad (remember when everyone said the iPad wouldn’t sell?). Banks like Wells Fargo and Chase now let you deposit checks with your mobile device. We even have Video Appraisal (who would have thought you could process a claim with a video chat?).

Success starts with recognizing that technology and innovation isn’t just what tech companies do; it’s what customers expect of all of us.

This article was written by On Marketing from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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