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This question has been answered, and points have been awarded.
How To Create A Research Pool To Benefit Customers
1/27/2010 at 3:37 AM ET
I'm trying to see if it is feasible to create a pool of customers who I can do simple periodic research on what are the trends are in the industry amongst these customers. But at the same time give them access to the research result, and an opportunity to conduct their own research.
Are there a similar model out there?
The closest i can think of is a couple of years ago a friend of mine said he participated as a Microsoft beta testing group. Where they send them beta releases of programs, such as Windows, etc. and they get to test it out.
But what i would like to build onto such groups are an extra feature where the customers themselves can ask questions. Especially in a B2B environment.
Are there similar models out there that already exist?
1/27/2010 at 10:48 AM
You're definitely on the right track. Being Tuned In to your customers is the key to success. Stull, Myers, and Scott have a bestselling book based on this principle. It is called "TUNED IN" and it is a great read:
You are also smart in appreciating that most people need an incentive to contribute to your efforts.
Let's first draw a distinction between the two types of data you can collect. One will benefit you in your product development and help guide your product roadmap. Microsoft has tried to promote this in their latest ads for Windows 7. Intuit is the poster-child for doing exactly this - using large beta groups to guide product development. It helped them to kick Microsoft's ass in their category. Here is the story:
Of course, this is the type of data you wouldn't want to share with anyone else except in the form of a great product.
Creating feedback loops and customer interaction is incredibly valuable. Amazon does this on an ongoing basis with its handy user reviews and also through the complex algorithms that let shoppers see what other people bought after considering an item.
The other data set you describe, your customers perceptions of industry trends, could be interesting to all, but many are already doing this and you would need to either have a very unique set of users or an incredible large set of users to have any great appeal for the results.
The ability to have people answer questions and interact with each other already exists in a big way. It is called social networking. We are doing that right here on MarketingProfs. It also happens every day on FaceBook, and in the business world it happens on LinkedIn Groups (the eMarketing Association has 200,000+ members in their LinkedIn Group), and there are countless others that are industry specific.
Hope that helps, JohnnyB.
if you like the advice, read the blog,
2/3/2010 at 7:36 PM
David there's hundreds of business running with this idea. In fact McKinsey do this regularly as does Booz Allen
The simplest process is to ask for their input on a questionnaire and they'll receive a copy of the full/exec summary of the report as part of their input.
It allows the respondent to stay up with who thinks what and ideas emerging in their industry and for you to gather the data you need.
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