Maintaining a competitive advantage and delivering against customer expectations is fundamental to business success. To achieve both, companies are looking for valuable insights on which to base a strategic roadmap.
But what do we class as ‘valuable insight’? As our CEO Paul Hudson pointed out in his latest blog, insights are the ‘aha’ moments, the ‘golden nugget’ as he put it. And what makes an insight valuable? This ultimately comes down to the insight application; does it define how a business moves forward? Valuable insights trigger new action and keep you ahead of your competitors. The use of co-creation to uncover valuable insights continues to grow, but co-creation in practice, is not as easy as it sounds.
Co-creation is defined as “a business strategy focusing on customer experience and interactive relationships, allowing and encouraging a more active involvement from the customer to create a value rich experience.” In other words, it is the process of involving your customers in the development of any new product or service to increase its profitability. In my opinion, it is co-creation that truly underpins the success of any new product or service, but to deliver co-creative insights successfully, a number of key steps must be followed.
Promote the Opportunities
The first step in building a co-creation platform is ensuring that any potential co-creators are aware of its existence and understand how it works. In the research world, this is referred to as recruitment.
To be successful at this stage, companies must utilise the data already available to them, customer data from their CRM database for example, and actively target their customers with information about online platform. Creating awareness of the opportunity, explaining the benefits of involvement and educating customers about how to use the platform are all essential to encouraging that initial sign-up. The more co-creators you have, the more weight your insight will carry — a key contributor to value.
Know your Audience
Before implementing any change to a product or service based on insight, a business must trust that the insight has been derived from their target market, in other words, straight from the horse’s mouth! Building a platform that is representative of your target market is just as important as building a platform in terms of size. Ensure all co-creators are fully profiled to guarantee a representative sample.
Find the customers who want to engage with your brand. These people are more likely to provide relevant and collaborative feedback; after all, it’s their interest to give you honest opinions if they want to receive the best possible products and service from you. This is when you get to your ‘aha’ moments.
Find Out What Makes Your Audience Tick
To achieve valuable insight, you need to engage your audience and encourage their participation — after all, if you don’t have any responses, you won’t have any insight at all.
To encourage co-creators to submit their ideas, you have to understand what motivates them in the first place. Is it financial incentives or rewards, curiosity, a desire to learn, or simply a hobby? It is important to identify what truly makes your co-creators tick and recognise that in the incentives offered for providing their feedback.
Maintain an Ongoing Dialogue
Keep your customers involved at each stage of the development process. Agile methods are great for this. In testing and re-testing they allow you the opportunity to further engage your audience and show them that their opinions are valued, as well as learning more about what your customers want.
Maintaining an ongoing dialogue with your customers creates greater levels of engagement; in turn, your audience will continue to provide honest and relevant feedback.