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How Successful Companies Engage Customers During the New-Product Development Process

by Mark Chinn  |  
July 27, 2015

The marketer's perspective on the customer has changed significantly over the last decade. Brands used to gaze from above on a faceless sea of prospects; now, brands come face-to-face with customers daily in social and digital channels. Accordingly, we no longer talk at customers; we talk with them.

This new normal is changing not just how companies market but also how they bring new products to market.

At CMG Partners, for our latest CMO's Agenda research [email required], we talked with marketing and product leaders to find out how they use customer dialog to shape their process for new product development.

For the professionals we spoke with, it wasn't a question of whether they encourage customer input but, rather, how they choose to engage customers.

At a high level, there are two basic strategies for customer engagement:

  1. Crowdsourcing, large forums, and customer data capture
  2. Targeted, ongoing customer advisory groups

Intelligence Gathering on a Large Scale

Casting the widest net works well for consumer goods with millions of users to please. There is knowledge in numbers, and the collective intelligence of the crowd can support or even inspire innovation. The crowds rushing to fund Pebble on Kickstarter in February 2015 are modern examples of a direct and meaningful customer impact on a product's release.

1. Crowdsourcing

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Mark Chinn is partner and CMO's Agenda research lead with CMG Partners, a consultancy helping businesses grow through marketing strategy.

LinkedIn: Mark Chinn

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  • by Vinay Bhagat, CEO TrustRadius Mon Jul 27, 2015 via web

    Mark - we're also starting to see B2B software companies that have built at-scale user review programs harness insights generated from those reviews to guide product priorities. They are also a way to communicate plans, where customers have voiced requests too.

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