As pointed out by Steve Jobs, customers notoriously do not know what they want. No wonder 35% those who engage in co-creation are disappointed by the results, as shown by the 2013 YMS.
Still, involving customers remains a priority for many marketers. And I think they are right. Whereas it is clear customers won’t come up with the solution, they will actually help define the problem. That is typically the boost companies need for successful innovation.
What do marketers who tick the ‘great success’ box in the YMS questionnaire have in common?
- Focus: They do not use co-creation as a Marcom tool and conduct it with no other commercial objective than understanding their customer needs.
- Agility: They do not use it as an excuse for inertia or to avoid taking decision. They know when to stop asking and move on to the next phase.
- Creativity: These marketers do not expect customers to generate the next big disruptive idea. The latter explain what their problem is, and the former come up with the solution.
- Tangibility: They conduct in-depth interviews, as time-consuming as it may seem, thanks to their top management setting it as a clear priority.
- Sustainability: Co-creation is embedded in their product development process and generates positive ROI because decisions are genuinely client-driven.
The (apparent) simplicity of interacting with customers on-line has shed a new light on the long existing practice of involving customers. Nothing new but still a great idea, bearing in mind that what you are looking for is a problem (worth solving), not a solution.
More insight on how to successfully involve customers in product development on www.ashmaurya.com (Running Lean).