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From Follower to Leader

Innovation strategies in retail financial services

Despite the fact that followers comprise the vast majority of firms, very little guidance is available on how followers should approach innovation in their quest to overtake pioneers. What guidance does exist rarely focuses on the financial services industry.

We sought to fill this gap with research that addresses two key questions that followers in financial services face:

  1. What can followers do to achieve market leadership? When we examined cases of financial services followers that overtook pioneers, we found that they focused on making their product or service better than the pioneer rather than (or before) making it cheaper. They did so by adding more non-price value, such as greater functionality or better customer service.
  2. How can they do this? We found that successful financial services followers created more non-price value than competitors by offering a unique mix of innovations across many of the companies' attributes.

Read this paper to learn how firms may leverage three categories — configuration innovations, offering innovations, and experience innovations — to create significant competitive advantage and achieve greater long-term success.

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