There’s often a feeling among budding entrepreneurs that all the good ideas are taken – and, let’s be honest, it’s an idea that’s rarely far from the truth. However, as TV shows like Shark Tank continue to demonstrate, plenty of people find new things to sell to the public. If you look closely, you might also see that many of these innovations are not all that innovative, either.
Repackaging the same old product can sometimes be just as good a way to do business as coming up with something new. In fact, existing ideas are already proven on the market, which means that there’s a lot less persuasion involved in selling them to customers. Look at how much of a disaster the especially novel Google Glass was. One user summed up their experience by stating, “everybody is a hater in the beginning.”
Entertainment is one of the more obvious places where old ideas shine. The use of genres in video gaming is an indicator that brand new ideas come at a premium. Franchises like Call of Duty, Battlefield, Halo, Metro, and Doom are separated largely by setting, themes, and a few gameplay quirks rather than offering anything truly ground-breaking every time.
Older, more analog games such as bingo have also remained largely unchanged over the decades. True, the transition to tablet and mobile play was a significant milestone for the industry, but the virtual bingo rooms offered by some operators try to retain as many of the classic features of the classic bingo experience as possible. For example, there are a lot of options for 90-ball bingo like Deal or No Deal and Flash Bingo, which follows the more traditional format of the game. Ultimately, it’s what the audience demands, the familiarity of the old game but with technological advancements, nearly a century since the game took off.
So, how do these less-mad scientists crack their target markets? First, they still have to provide some solutions. For instance, in the bingo example mentioned earlier, moving the game online meant that there was no longer any need to travel to take part. Much the same applies to Xbox games that can be bought on the Microsoft web store (for example). It’s a minor, time-saving change.
It may also be worth selling a product based on the value of a small aspect. An article on Top Gear about the best electric cars notes that the Audi E-Tron isn’t trying to do anything different but may still be attractive to drivers of similar, standard cars. Let’s not forget just how many electric cars are sold on the basis of their smaller impact on the environment than the gas-guzzler on most peoples’ driveways.
Many of these ideas appeal to customers’ own emotions as an effective driver, rather than the usual marketing trick of trying to engage our brain’s love of shiny things. An environmentally conscious person who gets a few yards to the gallon in their current car is likely to view greener ones as a better option when reminded of that fact. The bingo example offers a different way of re-packaging an idea, though. Playing online is more about comfort and convenience than actually receiving something new. Making an old product seem like Montezuma’s Treasure is a rare skill, but there’s no denying the fact that novelty can sometimes be a harder sell than familiarity