How do you know what your customers want if you don’t ask them? Most businesses are familiar with the concept of asking customers for feedback on a product. The way in which companies approach market research continues to evolve, as does the determination of why, how, when and where to ask customers their opinion.
In some industries more than others, a shift has occurred recently that places greater significance on co-creation. Companies engage customers early on when they still have a chance to influence the product’s design. Before companies undergo the time and expense of fully developing a product, it makes sense to pull in their prospective and existing customers for insight.
Co-creation offers the immense benefit of understanding your potential customers’ actual desires before you design the product that is supposed to meet their needs.
At Art + Business ONE, we see more advantages of co-creation strategies for brands. When you ask someone for their opinion and make it clear that you value their feedback, you create a powerful ally, ambassador and advocate. Think about it… If someone asked you to buy something, you would likely brush them off. But if they offered to listen to your thoughts on a product, you’d be compelled to give them your time and potentially develop an affinity for the brand as a result.
Of course, you can’t ask just anyone. You must target the people with the greatest propensity to buy your product. Using demographic and psychographic information, you can narrow down your audience and then reach out to them.
In the past, focus groups were commonly used to interact with potential customers and obtain qualitative insights. And while focus groups still have value, today we are able to gain more far-reaching quantitative and qualitative data through online surveys. We have the opportunity to engage thousands of participants as opposed to spending two hours with a focus group of seven people. What’s more is the ability to properly educate your participants about the product, its purpose and how it can enhance their lives.
The co-creation strategy has been used by numerous consumer brands, but is also prevalent for bigger-ticket items. For instance, Art + Business ONE has employed co-creation for real estate developments like Green Gables Reserve, which wanted to get a clear picture of the home designs and community amenities their buyers desired. After launching and completing four surveys via an online forum, we garnered more than 1,500 qualified, interested buyers whose preferences were included in the design and planning of the community. We also utilized co-creation to inform the design of Stapleton North, and we are currently in the midst of implementing a program for one of the world’s largest technology organizations.
By empowering participants to take an active role in product development, you’re developing future customers and brand ambassadors. Besides, you never know what brilliant ideas your customers may have until you ask them.