Launch Products And Services WITH Customers, Not AT Them
As marketing teacher and author, Seth Godin states: "Don't find customers for your products, find products for your customers." The meaning here is simple. Focus on the needs of your customers and create products and services that fulfill those needs.
Another way to convey this point is to launch products and services with your customers rather than at your customers. This is often referred to as co-creation. By definition, co-creation is the act and process of inviting customers, clients, or stakeholders to participate in creating or improving a product or process, resulting in a mutually valued outcome. Think of co-creation as a way to collaborate with your customers to create the products and services they need. And to maximize the impact, communicate, and collaborate with your Apex customers. These are your most impactful customers - those who truly move the needle for your organization.
There are many reasons that co-creation benefits businesses of all sizes. Here are several of the primary benefits:
Minimizes risk. Collaborating with your best customers to create products and services greatly reduces the risks that typically accompany new product introduction.
Increases customer satisfaction. Products and services designed with your best customers' input and feedback deliver greater customer satisfaction and a better overall brand experience.
Ensures innovations deliver value. Innovation absent customer involvement and input can be a costly and fruitless exercise. Conversely, innovations built on customer collaboration have a much higher probability of bottom-line success.
Creates a competitive advantage. Collaborating with your best customers leads to successful products and services, continuous improvement, and differentiation from your competitors.
It's critical to understand that customers want to be heard, recognized, and feel valued. They become personally invested in the companies and brands they love and many will gladly offer their input and feedback if they know their voice will be heard and acted upon.
The benefits of customer co-creation seem undeniable, yet many companies forego this approach in favor of gut instinct or guessing, which, while expedient, is fraught with risk and uncertainty.
Granted, a deliberate co-creation strategy requires time and resources, but the benefits far outweigh the costs. Customer co-creation results in better products and services, more engaged and satisfied customers, and an energized organization with a healthier bottom line.