Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Web 2.0... We have a long way to go...

This post is going to be close to a rant.. but it is really about leadership and the future. I am staying tonight in what could be consider one of the nicest hotels in Buckhead (Atlanta, USA). I have everything you could possible want in my room.. nice bed, High Def TV.. it is really great, except.. they expect me to pay extra for the Internet. And, I am not going to name the hotel.. cause they are not alone.. Lots of our high end hotel chains don't get it.. in case they are reading... "Internet is water.. we all need it to survive".. And yet they treat it like the booze locked in a cabinet.. like it is something a few people may like to sample. So what's this got to do with leadership and innovation...

The Internet is not a baby anymore.. Amazon is selling millions.. Google is a household name.. and yet, we have hotel executives who still do not see the Internet as something every guest should have access to.. They still think of it as a preference item. Why is this? Check out my Innovation Rule of Condiments.

Innovation Rule of Condiments

If an innovation is treated in the marketplace as a condiment (something that might be added to the already purchased product), four things occur:

  1. Sales data will undervalue the level of demand (People who are interested in the service will choose not to purchase or even inquire due to the additional hassle).
  2. Leaders will intepret such data as validation of their already closely held belief that the service is really just a preference. (Despite being told by line employees that it should be included in the overall price)
  3. Resistance by organizational leaders to include the service in with full pricing will increase resulting customer dissatisfaction and a slower adoption rate by the hotel chain.
  4. Competitors will steal market share.

So what is the point of this Rule of Condiments. Be careful how you choose to market a new service or product. Sure, it is ok to do some condiment pilot testing early on, but once a product is in demand.. include it in the total price. The lesson is when an innovation is ready for growth, condiment marketing taints the data.. and you miss the ride!

Ok.. now to sleep... but first, can I have a cup of Internet before I go to bed....

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