Develope Your Products with Social Feedback

Last time we have discussed about social media being used as collaboration tools in business to increase sales revenue, productivity and worker creativity.  To involve some visual sense, the right half of the picture below displays 4 different advantages of social media as collaboration tools for Enterprise Suite Let us look into what the left half of the circle is about today and see how these four advantages help business with product development strategies.

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Strategy Rethink for Social Media by Ashok Vemuri, Americas Head and Member Executive Council, Infosys Technologies Ltd., discusses why companies need to rethink top-down product creation approaches in the Social Media age.  The video is a thorough summary of Infosys SocialEdge‘s perspective of consumer engagement using social media.  Social media has gotten real and there is almost no activity that cannot be done online nowadays.  Social media becomes marketers’ best friend because of how easy it is to access in formation and data to take traditional marketing beyond normal.  All different methods of market analysis (SWOT analysis, competitive analysis, industry analysis, stakeholder analysis) could be done properly online, in a timely manner.  More importantly, social media is right now the quickest, easier, and cheapest way to have interact with customers.  SurveyMonkey has 14 billion registered users in 2012 and only growing more rapidly everyday.  Success of services such as SurveyMonkey, Qualtrics, Google Consumer Surveys prove that consumer engagement has become a priority for businesses.  Companies have been using online surveys to study consumer behaviors, which hugely impact their product development strategies.

Consumer engagement is done through social collaboration.  Collaborative marketing means involving customers into the product development process.  Crowdtap and Quirky are examples of successful collaborative marketing platforms.  Quirky recently partnered with GE to launch a GE & Quirky Co-Branded Product Development Initiative.  The method is called crowdsource  (www.crowdsource.com) in which marketing research starts from the crowd, or consumers, rather from within the organization or value chain (employees, staff, suppliers, etc.)  Participators in crowdsource could be early adopters or lead users who have innovative ideas and realization of what they need but can’t find in the market.

“We admire Quirky’s speed, collaboration and inventiveness and by opening up lab-proven technology and patents to everyday inventors we can help inspire new ideas and accelerate advanced manufacturing innovation. At GE we are passionate about innovation at market speed, working with entrepreneurs and finding new models of business, and this partnership is just another way we can help inspire invention and help scale it. We are excited to see how the Quirky community uses tools from our scientists and technologists around the world to develop products in an entirely different way.” — Beth Comstock, SVP and chief marketing officer, GE.

Customers seek for information online to make their buying decisions; business use the same information as criteria for their market research .  CMO Council report 48% of CMO’s track online customer reviews.  Brutally honest reviews on Amazon.com drive company decision and strategies in product development.  Companies are allowing co-creation of products from consumers by applying customer feedback to innovation.

Not just to extract information and opinions from customers, companies are also using social media to provide customer care.  Most customer service platforms have been transformed virtual.  Problems and solutions could be found for any unique customer within a short period of time using online collaboration.  Companies are getting proactive, testing customer satisfaction and solving customer problems through company’s Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media channels.  It is believed that customers who spend more time reviewing or complaining about their purchases have higher spending habit.  The amount of time they spend online to search for products is also higher.

Companies can really take advantage of these finding to generate their online marketing campaign and social commerce activities.  A marketing team who understands what customers like or dislike about a product could easily work with a product team or R&D to modify and suggest product updates.  Crowdsourcing provides data and information that allow business to do feasibility analysis based on user trends.

The Consumer Suite can work favorably toward business’s benefit.  The use of social media does have a huge impact on business’s product development strategies and initiatives.  Now that you understand social media could be helpful besides the purpose of marketing and branding, try digging through your online conversations with customers to engage social listening and social talking.  First off, here are 7 terrific ways to use social media for instant feedback.

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