One Blog |November 12, 2010 | Point-of-Sale Marketing Management

Marketing at-Retail - Are You a Technology Innovator? Part 2

Mark Fullerton

Part 2

Take the Technology Innovator Test

In Part 1, we discussed the fundamental changes that are occurring in the beverage distribution industry and the need for senior executives and managers to embrace innovative technologies as new ways to address the industry challenges.

It is a fact that the leading suppliers, distributors and retailers develop and maintain their competitive advantage over their peers by adopting innovative technologies that will provide them with valuable, actionable, operational information. Leading companies encourage employees to learn about new technologies that will enable them to quickly maintain and grow their value to the enterprise

After years of working with beverage distributors we have come up with a method to identify the characteristics of innovative leaders in the industry.

The following is a quick quiz to help you to determine where you fit on the Innovation Leadership Scale (Answer “Yes,” “No” or “Don’t know”):

  1. Do you consider technology as one of your top two or three critical success factors?

  2. Do you believe your distributorship is well-informed about what innovations are available to you and what your competitors are doing?

  3. Do you anticipate supplier, customer or competitor pressure to deploy new technologies?

  4. Do you have a list of innovations or technologies you think would provide you with a competitive advantage?

  5. Do you think some of these technologies are virtually inevitable for you to implement in the next year?

  6. Do you have a plan to deploy innovative tools to pull you ahead of your competition?

  7. Do you track information regarding the performance in all areas of your distributorship?

  8. Do you have an innovation or an application that you have implemented in the past 24 months that very few of your competitors have?

  9. Do you have a return on investment or cost benefit analysis of all core areas of your distributorship?

  10. Do your employees keep current on innovations in the beverage distribution industry?

  11. Do you believe that with your current level of technology you have and will keep a competitive advantage?


For every “Yes” answer, give yourself 1 point. For every “No”, 0 points; and for every “Don’t Know”, subtract 1 point.

9-11 points:

You are a leader among your peers and competitors. You currently have a competitive advantage, but you must remain vigilant. As the price performace of technology continues to improve, your competitors may begin to implement innovative solutions in and attempt to overtake you.

6-8 points:

It’s likely you are a follower. You wait to deploy new technologies, solutions and applications until after your competitors have deployed them. You still receive some of the benefits, but could receive more if you move to technology sooner.

3-5 points:

You may be a laggard. You make virtually no attempts to innovate or keep up with others. You only deploy new technology when an older version is no longer supported or when the maintenance of an older technology rises sharply in cost.  Things can get better if you place technology in a higher priority position and understand that it is a core competency for your business.

0-2 points:

You may be a Luddite. (Look it up) You are an opponent of technological innovation and change. You prefer instead to remain unchanged, you see little merit in offering your employees continuous education and training. You may believe in the motto, “use it up, wear it out, and make do, or do without.”  Your business is — or will soon be — in peril. There is hope, if you immediately begin working to move up to a follower or leader. It  isn’t too late. So don't give up now.

Below Zero:

There may be no hope at all. But there’s always hope. The truth is you have to innovate or face some unpleasant consequences. So the question you need to ask is “How much pain do I want to go through before I change the way I do business?” The good news is that there are many tools available to help you. And the costs for most the innovative technologies have never been more attractive.

Notable quote from Samuel Palmisano, CEO, IBM:

"Some may be tempted to hunker down, to scale back their investment in innovation . . . while that might make sense during a cyclical downturn, it’s a mistake when you’re going through a major shift in the global economy."

Call us. We’d love to tell you about our innovative marketing at-retail technologies and help you move forward.

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Wine & Spirits Wholesales of AmericaNational Beer Wholesalers Association Path to Purchase Institute

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