We all want to be a market leader. Every company is looking for innovative ways to increase market share and mindshare in order to increase profits. The most successful business leaders always talk about their mentors--who’ve they’ve looked to for inspiration, motivation, and insights. The more successful people (and companies) you surround yourself with, the greater the chance you will succeed. We can learn from their mistakes and their successes, to help your company make educated decisions. The following are innovative CEOs that have changed the markets they do business in.
1. Jeffery Raider (Harry’s & Warby Parker)
Create a quality product that is unique. Disrupt your market.
This serial entrepreneur once said: “Never compromise on the product. Make sure that it’s amazing and that you care about every single detail.” If you look at these two companies, they have disrupted their industries. Before Warby Parker, couldn’t we order glasses online AND be able to try them on and return the ones we do not like. These stylish specs changed design and business within the optical industry. This company forged the way, demanding better glasses, more convenience, and better prices than designer brands. The college entrepreneurs found a white space and dominated it.
As for Harry’s, in an interview with the New York Times, Raider explained that this time around they had more capital and perfected their products--from custom razor blades to perfectly crafted shaving cream. Great products bring customer satisfaction. In the same interview, Raider explained that the second time around with Harry’s they had predicted their success and knew how to “absorb the shock” of selling out as they did with Warby Parker. Know your market space, and be proactive, not reactive, so you can dominate it.
“Disruption happens at a geometric pace as opposed to a linear pace.” — Jeff Raider
2. Elon Musk (Tesla)
Always seek feedback from your customers. A feedback loop is key.
If there is one thing we can learn from Elon Musk, it’s constant communication. Musk takes a different approach to customer focus. Being active on Twitter, Musk is constantly asking for feedback on his products--asking customers what their needs and wants are. Utilize social media and make that your feedback loop. Though customer feedback is essential, don't forget about your employees. They will have insights into your customer relationships and may have ideas about lead generation. Feedback from customers and employees will help in your market development.
“I think it's very important to have a feedback loop, where you're constantly thinking about what you've done and how you could be doing it better.”
Be the vanguard of innovation in your market.
Musk once said: "Disruptive technology where you really have a big technology discontinuity... tends to come from new companies." It doesn’t matter what industry you are in. From real estate to tech, to cosmetics, whether it’s an innovative product or an innovative marketing strategy--be different and be a leader in your market, not a follower. Even if your company is not a new business, you should always be thinking of ways to be innovative. As a market leader, you always have to be one step ahead of your competition in every aspect of your business.
3. Kylie Jenner (Kylie Cosmetics)
Lead. Don’t follow.
Cosmetics market leader, Kylie Jenner, now worth over a billion dollars at the age of 21 years old has changed this industry, forever. “I don’t really follow trends – I don’t like wearing what other people are wearing. I just like to be original” says Kylie. This approach to style and her personal brand is reflected in Kylie Cosmetics.
Unlike most beauty companies, Kylie successfully markets her products on her own. With over 141 million followers on Instagram alone, she is one of the most-followed people online. Kylie uses her family’s social media and her own accounts so her products are always being talked about. In the newfound era of social media influencers, Kylie is a leader in this market. She sets trends overnight. For example, big lips have always been beautiful but Kylie has taken it to another level. She cannot keep enough of her lip products in stock. In three years, she is a household name.
Scaling up your company like Kylie.
Everyone knows her, even if they aren’t “following” her on social media, they are following her every movement. She is a leader, not a follower. Recently earning the title, “self-made billionaire” on Forbes, she has taken fame, social media, and leveraged them to create a killer business dominating the cosmetics industry. If your team isn't using social media to establish product leadership and in your marketing plan, you will not achieve market leadership. If you want to take your brand to the next level like Kylie Cosmetics, it's imperative you use big data analytics and business intelligence in your strategy. With recent advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning companies like Cortex and Sap Analytics Cloud have emerged. Sap analytics can help you make more informed business decisions based off of visual data. Cortex uses artificial intelligence to help you improve your social media. Market leaders in every industry are using artificial intelligence software in their business development and marketing departments.
So what can we learn from her? Be a leader. Not a follower. Set trends. Don’t follow trends, and be smart, use all the tools/resources in front of you.
3. Steph Korey & Jen Rubio (Away)
Cut out the middleman.
“Deliver unprecedented consumer experiences” - Steph Korey, CEO
Steph Korey (CEO and CO-Founder) and Jen Rubio (Co-Founder) created Away, a sleek, modern, luggage company that deals directly with the consumer through their e-commerce website. These co-founders met at Warby Parker and were inspired by the direct-to-consumer-e-com movement. “At both companies, I led supply chain, which is a key area of the new direct-to-consumer e-commerce movement, essentially that through vertical integration and cutting out the middlemen you can deliver unprecedented consumer experiences and values that are much more compelling than the status quo,” says CEO Korey.
Whenever you challenge the status quo and create a superb product, you will increase your market share and dominate the market. Consumers want to buy into the newest product and want that product to change their lives. If you can deliver that, similar to Away, Warby Parker, and Harry’s, you will find yourself as a market leader in your space.
Create a brand people care about.
In addition to customer-focused business models, your brand should be one people care about. The more value and brand experience you bring to your business, the more customers you will attract and keep.
“That was my lightbulb moment. I wanted to create a luggage brand that people cared about” says Rubio, Co-Founder.
In an interview with TIME Magazine, Rubio reminds us to surround ourselves with people who understand the vision of the company. Your leadership, determination, and creativity are important traits to help you become a market leader. Using innovative products like sap analytics and Cortex will give your business an advantage every market leader needs. As a chief executive officer or marketing leader, learning from these market leaders can help you understand what is necessary to take your business to the next level.