The utopian concept of a seamless collaboration between creators and consumers is considered by many companies to be beyond their reach.
This is largely because the process of gaining the credible insights that are needed in order to develop the strongest iteration of a product or service is daunting. However, recent studies have revealed that consumers are more willing than ever to collaborate with a brand and, crucially, they’re in a better position to do so than ever before.
Research company Insites Consulting recently published data to demonstrate the status of the social media landscape. In it, they conclude “80-90% of consumers want to be involved in co-creation”. The only thing they ask in return is to be told how their feedback has been used.
In our view, the purpose of market research is to create the ‘actionable insights’ that are derived from gathering useful information and spending time, effort and money discerning what customers want.
However, despite the best intentions of business owners, there has long been an invisible barrier between ‘seller’ and ‘purchaser’ making it difficult to retrieve reliable results. Finding the right people, asking the right questions and motivating those involved have typically stood in the way.
Today, it is so much easier for consumers to communicate directly with brands. Indeed, according to the Insites report “1.5 billion people use social media sites… 51% of Internet users have a smartphone and most have data stored on it”. Given all this, it seems that there is a huge opportunity for organic interactions between creators and consumers. All we need to do is identify how these conversations can be facilitated and translated into more collaborative relationships, for example through online communities.
Online communities present the perfect platform for co-creation by providing a private online space through which a company can constantly engage in real-time monitoring of brand opinions and perceptions. The technology also allows a two-way conversation between customer and brand to become a vital component for ensuring all products and services are shaped around the consumers’ needs.
The saying goes that the ‘customer is always right’ but now they are always right there.
Your customers want more from you and their ability to tell you that is right at their fingertips. They want better products and services and they’re ready to tell you just what that means to them.
Or at least, you should hope they are, because they might hold the key to your future success.
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