Creative Ways Brands Can Engage Customers in Product Development
Today, marketing is more personal than ever. Consumers want to have a one-on-one connection with brands on social media and digital channels, rather than being just one of many. As a result, marketers are talking “with” customers, rather than “at” them, in order to get them engaged. In addition to changing how companies market their current offerings, this direct approach is transforming how they design and debut new products. As a result, both consumer-centric companies and B2B businesses rely on a range of tactics to encourage customer engagement in the product development process. To help marketers get customers involved in product development, MarketingProfs.com shared the most successful product marketing strategies.
Larger Consumer Companies Aim for a Large Audience
Many consumer companies want a high volume of voices to gain the greatest amount of feedback. This lets them please the most customers with each new product launch. Big brands believe that there’s power in numbers, so they want this collective sentiment to improve and inspire new products. Their top three techniques for feedback include:
- Crowdsourcing for a Crowd of Feedback: This approach allows companies to interact directly with the public to get their personal opinions. These views are used to shape new products. Most depend on social media and digital channels to reach the largest audience.
- Customer Interaction Data Compels Conversation: Some brands establish proprietary online forums that let customers comment on products and services. In addition to providing valuable insight, this allows businesses to directly respond to consumers and open up a dialogue that delivers more-personal feedback.
- Social Listening for the Sentiment on Social Media: This tactic lets companies hear what people are saying and sharing about a product or service on social channels. It captures real-time, honest feedback that can used to refine and revise a concept. It’s a popular approach because it reduces the risk of product failure by addressing faults before launch.
Smaller B2B Businesses Defer to a Defined Audience
On the other side of the spectrum, small B2B businesses that serve a smaller niche audience find success with a narrower approach. They select a certain amount of targeted consumers to gain detailed, direct feedback. But businesses that use this tactic must be careful not to focus only on top customers, but also include critical users who can offer ideas for improvement. Most B2B businesses use these three approaches to collect targeted insight:
- Product Advisory Councils Key In on Key Customer Views: These provide an informal forum for a company’s best customers to share their ideas and insights on new innovations. This allows B2B businesses to gain feedback from their most frequent users to refine a current or proposed product. It also lets them learn about unique ways that their products and services are being used by their most successful customers. This knowledge can provide a launching pad for future innovations and new product marketing strategies.
- Key Opinion Leaders Influence New Creations: These trusted influencers are usually industry specialists, customer experts, media personalities, and respected writers. Their unbiased, independent nature makes their views much more valuable. By working with these leaders, a B2B business can collect practical and pertinent insight on concepts, designs, ideas, prototypes, and trends. By bringing these leaders into the product development process, this increases the chances of getting their public endorsement and advocacy for new product launches.
- Customer Forums Speak to the Need for Direct Feedback: By providing a preview of a new product to a select group of customers, a business can hear their impressions and interest in it. This can validate a concept to assure a business that its latest developments meet the customer’s needs. For the greatest success with this approach, a business should be as open as possible and encourage customers to give their honest opinions. They can provide a wealth of worthwhile customer feedback that can lead to better business.
Whether your businesses focuses on a large or limited group of customer for feedback, try these valued tactics to produce the most valuable products.
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