Nobody has a crystal ball but pundits the world over are always looking at what’s next. Whether we’re talking about technology, the stock market, or clothing trends there’s this belief that if you can figure out what will be hot before anyone else you’ll be ahead of the game. When it comes to marketing, especially through the use of social media, that question gets asked all the time. Perhaps the answer, to some degree, was answered in a recent 60 Minutes episode which featured IDEO’s CEO David Kelley discussing human behavior and product design. In short, Mr. Kelley concluded that the key to his company’s success was studying human behavior in real-time. If you did not see the episode, I highly recommend giving it a watch.
Create raving fans
Giving the consumer more say in how your company runs its business is not a new concept. For years, companies have figured out that if they could get their supporters and advocates involved in new product design through crowdsourcing, they would in turn be more likely to purchase said product as well as share their excitement with their networks. Frito Lay ran a “Do Us a Flavor ” promotion last year where they asked people to come up with a new flavor profile for their potato chips in hopes of winning the $1,000,000 prize. For months, people saw their friends concoctions posted on Facebook, giving the company additional exposure and most likely a bump in sales. It’s no different than the concept of having your kids cook with you at an early age. Children will be more apt to try new things if they’re involved.
Competition for attention, whether for an individual or brand on social media sites is growing by the day. What used to garner our time and attention no longer cuts it. There’s a level of sophistication that is now required to really gain traction, otherwise the message will fall by the wayside. In the early days of Twitter with less active participants, it wasn’t that hard to stand out. Nowadays the stream moves so fast that unless your content is noteworthy, it’ll get bypassed for the next tweet three seconds later. What does this mean for brands looking to get an edge? Easy, figure out how to get your fans more involved, let them be the storytellers of your business and make them feel like their opinions and feedback really matter.
Simplicity and common sense goes a long way in business
Too often we make the simple, complex. The answer is right in front of our noses yet we scratch our heads and pull our hair out trying to solve a relatively easy problem. Everyone knows the saying, don’t recreate the wheel. The origin dates back centuries where a group of know-it-alls tried to create something better than the wheel, and failed because it already served its main function as well as possible. In the 60 Minutes episode referenced earlier, Mr. Kelley explained the way IDEO designs products is by watching how consumers interact with their products, especially paying attention to their facial expressions. A frustrated or perplexed look meant there is a problem that needs fixing. It makes so much sense yet how many of their competitors haven’t been able to figure this out?
Some companies are better positioned than others to implement this concept of consumer involvement. No matter what product or service your company offers, here are some suggestions to consider:
- Ask your consumers what they like/dislike about your product or service through a survey; provide a benefit to those who participate.
- Plan in-store events that allow consumers to test products and provide feedback, create a festive atmosphere.
- Think about contests that allow consumers to create or impact future product designs.
- Allow your consumers to share their experience online through social media applications.
- Become comfortable giving up some control and have confidence that consumers want the same thing as you, the best product possible.
These are just some initial thoughts. What else would you add to the list?