Monthly Archives: September 2009

Communities as advertisement design canvas

What do you want in your advertisement? Something that people like, appreciate and get excited about. Something unique that can help them link to your brand. An effective advertisement campaign has a singular theme for all mediums which can be identified by the customers. A good way to design that theme is by using the social media.

Marketers can monitor various elements of web-based social world to identify what people think about their product, which part of their product most excites them and what are the turn-offs. They can monitor what people generally look for when they are shopping. Using this information effectively, and designing advertisements by keeping in mind the factors that will appeal to the customers, marketers can design better advertisements as compared to the ones designed in a silo.

To take it a step further, a company can have their own community where it can interact with its customers. By having discussions on their domain, marketers can extract customer intelligence on the conversations taking place. They can conduct polls and surveys, have healthy discussions and better understand what clicks for their customers. Essentially, by doing this, marketers will be in a way able to indirectly run themes by the customers and come up with campaigns that are most influential in the community.

The idea here is to take help of your most engaged customers in designing the marketing campaigns. Creativity in designing the advertisements is as important as anything else, but just imagine how much more impactful that can be when you are hitting the right strokes in the right style!

Listening to customers and Innovation

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” This famous quotation from Henry Ford puts listening to customers and innovation opposite to each other. It is quite possible that if Henry Ford had asked people what they wanted, they might have said that they want to travel faster, putting both at the same side. Though the important thing to note here is that Ford didn’t ask customers and came up with arguably the biggest innovation of the industrial age. The question this raises is an important one: can you innovate without listening to the customers?

Companies put a lot of focus on what customers want when they develop products, which leads to great products to solve big problems faced by customers. But then there are breakthrough products which come along every now and then which no one expected or asked for. Apple is known for doing that all the time. No one asked for or expected an iPod to fit every pocket and budget, nor did anyone imagine an iPhone to revolutionize the cellphone industry. Both solved big customer problems like organizing their music in a cool device and putting a little powerful device in their pocket that can have a few dozen necessary applications (and can be used for talking) respectively. But had Apple asked customers what they want from the company, it is quite possible that they would have remained Apple Computers satisfying the need of their niche market.

So one might wonder how Apple, or for that matter any company that comes up with breakthrough innovation, does that? I believe by putting themselves in the customers’ shoes. If you develop a product that you would love to have, something that makes your life easier, something that solves some major problems for you, the chances are your customers will love to have that product as well. All you need is honesty, persistence and self critical observation.

And what about listening to customers? That’s post version uno. You put the breakthrough product out there and now let the customer chip in to tell you how you can improve it and make better to fit their needs. Then you form the maven force to help you deliver breakthrough products and great customer focused innovation.