Guess who knows best what customers dream of, need, and value? You guessed right; customers themselves. So why not integrate them into the product development process? What is the use in first secretively developing what we think should be the newest gadget or, what is often called these days, “disruptive technology”; and then failing to communicate its value proposition to the target customers? Failing because we can’t really reach them through outbound marketing (i.e. shouting really loudly at someone, somewhere).
The best marketers and most innovative companies in the world already partner with their customers in product development. They literally let their customers do the creative part of new product’s development for them: finding really new customer benefits or experience. All that these intelligent companies have to do then, is design and build these ideas into technology that delivers this customer benefit. Ideally, when it’s ready to roll out, it can be announced at a single eagerly awaited event, like Steve Jobs presenting the products to a cheering crowd of unpaid product co-developers. This would generate enough outbound marketing to sell the product – good job!
Surprisingly, all this can be achieved without giving away any valuable intellectual property. What it needs is a step-by-step approach to engaging the customers. Inbound marketing, social online networking and blogging help to create awareness, identify and then slowly engage interested and creative customers. These engaged individuals can then be directly addressed via permission-based email and invited to join the closed club of privileged customers allowed to help the company with new product development. A strong and fruitful relationship is created, boosting the customer’s status within the community, and keeping those precious product ideas flowing freely into the product development pipeline.
The best thing of all, is that it’s all been approved by the customers themselves, right from the beginning.
Koenig & Consultants Inc. is an internationally active management consulting firm with strong focus on, and expertise in, the Life Science, Renewable Energies, and B2B sectors. We support senior management in their efforts to develop unique solutions for their clients and stakeholders through excellence in strategic planning, marketing, communication, and leadership. We provide our clients with a portfolio of state-of-the-art and highly customizable frameworks and analytical tools.
Christine König, PhD
Christine majored in biology and biochemistry and graduated from Göttingen University with a PhD in biochemistry. In her post-doctoral work she gained long-time experience in research and development. She has been awarded a number of prizes and gained high recognition for her entrepreneurial work and a patent in the biotechnology branch.
Since 2002 she has been engaged as business manager of a diagnostics company and at the same time as a marketing and innovation consultant for technology oriented companies helping to advance their innovative products and find new markets for them.