SEMA News - August 2010
SEMA-member companies have continually appealed to consumers through the creation of new and interesting products—and not just to stay competitive within our own marketplace. Today more than ever, our members also vie for discretionary dollars against a host of different practical, entertainment and recreational uses. The success of your business depends not just on innovative products but on innovation in all aspects of business.
What does your business-wide innovation look like today? SEMA recently sponsored an educational seminar dubbed rather generically “Profit 101.” Behind that title was a workshop on tapping into the diverse knowledge and experience of company employees—everyone from marketing to engineering to financial—in order to generate innovative and profitable ideas for your business. Different individuals with different job functions bring a diversity of opinion, and one person’s spark can ignite a fire of productive dialog. (For more information about the workshop, contact Jamie Eriksen, SEMA’s education director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 909/978-6737.)
The Profit 101 course presented one example of a new approach called “crowd sourcing.” The term is applied when using multiple people’s divergent thoughts to craft a single, saleable idea. This rather revolutionary model for innovation is highlighted in a feature article in this issue of the magazine titled, “Open Sourcing, Open Design.” In a nutshell, it’s about how one new company is harvesting and combining the good ideas of many in order to come up with the next best idea for the future. This approach may lead to a new and better way to design cars and trucks as well as our industry’s specialty products.
Modern companies always seek more and different ways to stay on the cutting edge of not only technology and manufacturing but also marketing and sales. The web, social networking and information transfer through formal web presence, and informal processes such as blogs, are changing the way consumers are learning about products and making buying decisions. Our industry is generally lagging regarding this arena and is losing sales to other industries vying for discretionary dollars. It is necessary for the specialty-equipment industry to keep moving forward by adopting and implementing marketing and sales tools, which will keep us competitive and help expand our markets.
For progress to continue, each company must strive to understand what it means to be innovative in the contemporary sense, in a society where ideas and opportunities are moving at the speed of thought. SEMA continually provides seminars, workshops and webinars that serve to fuel your engines of innovative growth. Some of our recent webinar topics include “The Essentials of Online Marketing,” “Produce the Perfect Product Launch” and “10 Search-Engine Tips That Will Increase Your Online Business Now.” These and dozens of other webinars are available free to members, and they can be used to build the base of knowledge that serves as the future for every company. Another resource is the upcoming Business Technology Symposium to be held July 23, where industry leaders from the automotive specialty-equipment market and digital technology experts will convene for a day-long conference on a wide variety of topics—market research in the digital age, reaching customers on forums and blogs, social media and getting people to read your e-mail. For more information, visit here.
Our members get up every day with the challenge of developing and marketing products that are more appealing than those they are intended to replace or improve. A tremendous variety of innovations have been created by individual entrepreneurs to build our industry. Our goal is to provide tools that they can use in the process. Now is the time to make sure your company’s innovations are truly innovative today.
- Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO