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Sonoo Singh
Associate Editor at The Drum
Dede Laurentino
Chief Creative Officer at Ogilvy UK

Lessons in innovation from Ocado, JPMorgan & Blockbuster

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

ORM Digital suggest ways marketers can be more innovative.

Saying that the digital landscape has changed drastically in the last two decades is a massive understatement. In the 20 years since ORM was founded, we’ve seen how the introduction of high-speed internet connections, smartphones and social media platforms have transformed digital tools from being an afterthought to becoming the leading factor in customer experience. The companies that have survived this shift are those that have embraced innovation and adopted a digital-first mindset across all aspects of their business.

Here’s what you can learn from some of the world’s top brands:

JPMorgan: Demonstrating the importance of operational innovation

You might think that JPMorgan is a financial services company, but both JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs have declared themselves to be technology groups rather than banks. And, with an annual tech budget of $10.8 bn and around 50,000 technologists on the payroll, JPMorgan is clearly putting its money where its mouth is.

As part of JPMorgan’s 'Mobile First, Digital Everything' strategy, the company has invested in a digital tech hub in New York - the “mothership” of the bank’s digital ambitions - dedicated to developing, designing and updating digital tools for JPMorgan Chase’s 47 million digital customers. More recently, the company introduced a pilot scheme which requires new staff to go through mandatory coding training and their head of asset management has been quoted saying, “coding is not just for tech people, it is for anyone who wants to run a competitive company in the 21st century.”

JPMorgan hasn’t actually changed the nature of its business. It still delivers the same key services it always has, but it's recognised the way customers engage with their products and services has evolved and it's innovated to make sure that itsoperation reflects this.

Ocado: Leveraging the potential from new product innovation

Ocado started out delivering Waitrose groceries in 2002 and now describes itselves as the “world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailer” – but Ocado is also one of Britain’s most exciting tech companies.

When Ocado couldn’t find the technology needed to automatically control and co-ordinate the movements of the hundreds of thousands of crates in its grocery fulfilment system, the team enlisted the help of Cambridge Consultants to create a custom solution. The result was the Ocado Smart Platform – a wireless technology system that not only provides Ocado with fast and efficient automated grocery packing, but it has also been licensed to other businesses around the world and can be used for a host of other applications – including controlling fleets of semi-autonomous vehicles at factories, construction sites and airfields.

Ocado’s Smart Platform demonstrates how digital product innovation, originally motivated by a need to improve your own business, can be leveraged to open up new business opportunities and markets.

Blockbuster: Why constant innovation is essential

We all know the story about Blockbuster’s demise due to the company's inability to innovate and adapt to a changing marketplace. It's not alone – 88% of the companies on the Fortune 500 in 1955 have disappeared from today’s list. Toys ‘R’ Us is a more recent example of another company that initially seemed to be adapting to an online market when it signed on as Amazon’s exclusive toy vendor, but then failed to follow through with its own e-commerce presence, which ultimately led to bankruptcy.

There are countless similar examples of established companies that have been put out of business by digital startups that offer traditional services at a lower cost, and more conveniently. These serve as cautionary tales to illustrate the importance of constant innovation – digital transformation isn’t something you do once and then tick off your to-do list, it takes ongoing iterations to keep up with changing customer behaviours.

Introducing innovation into your organisation

Digital agencies play a key part in helping businesses develop innovative ways to improve their operations, products and customer relationships. The digital tools and products developed by agencies like ORM might be innovative in their own right or they may act as enablers – creating operational efficiencies within your organisation so that your team has the time to think strategically and adapt accordingly for your future.

To find the best agency to help drive and deliver this digital innovation, look for a partner that is:

  • open to collaboration and embraces new ways of working
  • transparent about the way they work and what they can achieve
  • focused on outcomes rather than outputs

Or you can just call us at ORM, we’re great ☺

Amy Creeden, senior marketing manager at ORM Digital.

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