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How to Avoid Adopting Innovation Trends That Will Not Last
  • 27 September 2017
  • Daniel Vahab

How to Avoid Adopting Innovation Trends That Will Not Last

In today's ever-changing marketplace, it is crucial that you are able to determine which innovation trends are worth your time and money. Fads come and go, and before you invest in the latest technology, you want to calculate the potential opportunities and risks involved. While there’s no guarantee that any trend will stand the test of time, there are various steps you can take to minimize the associated risks in adopting new trends.

Calculate the risks

When deciding whether or not certain technology is worth your investment, you should weigh the risks involved. On one hand, you want to be open and receptive to change as a small business owner. If all of your competitors adopt the latest technology before you do, you risk falling behind. It’s important that you never allow yourself to become complacent or merely satisfied with the status quo.

On the other hand, investing in technology that may not be best-suited to your audience could expose your business to a different type of risk: wasted time, money, and resources. Think about how the change will impact your existing products or services, operations, or customer experience – are there any potential unintended consequences that could happen? You want to be sure to consider the potential return on investment (ROI) before making a final decision.

Learn from past flops

Who remembers Quick Response (QR) codes? These matrix bar codes used to appear on print magazines, digital banners, billboards, and product labels. Once all the rage, these codes have recently become all but obsolete. The reason, in part, is that they are not particularly user-friendly: You need to download a specific app in order to scan the code provided.

When deciding whether or not a specific trend merits your investment, you should think about if and how it will simplify or benefit your customers' shopping experience. If the technology only serves to make this process increasingly complex, it is likely that it will not stick around for long.

Stay on top of macrotrends and microtrends

Before you develop an investment plan of action, you should familiarize yourself with two main types of trends:

  1. Macrotrends refer to those trends that are larger in scale and have a far-reaching impact. Macrotrends may include social media, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Being on the forefront of these macrotrends can give you a sizable advantage over your competitors.

  2. Microtrends refer to those trends that affect a smaller population and are typically less influential than macrotrends. When deciding whether or not to invest in microtrends, you should first and foremost gauge the degree to which your target audience is affected by these innovations. Here, it is also important to remember that microtrends do not typically last longer than five years.

Learn from your competitors' success stories

In today's digital world, nearly everyone knows and uses successful social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram on a regular basis. However, once-popular networks such as Myspace and Friendster have since fallen behind.

In examples like this, it’s extremely valuable to investigate why one company may have been so much more successful than its key competitor. As Sean Percival, former VP of online marketing at Myspace noted in The Guardian, one of the reasons why Facebook was so successful was that they did not focus on monetization early on: "And when they do ads, they actually do very nice ads. They do more native, more inline advertising, things that feel a little more natural."

When it comes to your own small business, you should learn all you can from your competitors' successes and failures. If another company within your industry was able to expand their overall reach by investing in a new online marketing initiative, you should keep this example in mind when gauging how other technology may benefit your audience.

In order to be successful, you must ensure that your business is able to grow and change as time goes on. Of course, this can mean investing in the latest innovation trends in your industry. But before making a move, do all you can to minimize the risk associated with the investment.

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