Social media Focus Groups and product development

Social Media Focus groups and product development

Marketing and branding companies still charge lots of money for focus groups to look at products and services and help businesses to design the offering for customers; we can now use social media at lightning speed to create faster and better results than a focus group by running surveys.

Nowadays smart businesses are using social media to increase profits and grow customer loyalty. From big brands like Unilever to artisan food producers and specialist clothing companies. They are all calling upon their customers to assist them in designing products and services.

BrewDog brewery are a good example, they have a membership club that entitles their customers’ money off beer if ordered direct and also in their beer bars. Members are then asked if they liked the “special release” beers to gauge popularity before rolling them out en masse.

Magnum ice cream has done this and various other big brands. This end to end design process builds such an amazing buzz and many informed brand ambassadors for that company. People feel like stakeholders, some buy shares in the business and help to amplify the ethics and brand values to their social media communities and friends.

Kalypso (The worlds premier innovation consulting firm) did a study around the idea of using social  media for innovation and product development cycles. > “Almost half (46 percent) of companies they surveyed admitted they are not sure which approaches work best. Over one-third (36 percent) say they are challenged by a lack of internal expertise or best practices to follow.”

Companies are more likely to succeed when they align innovation and strategic product development cycles with social media customer surveys, route to market could be a matter of days rather than months, leaving less room for competitors to beat them to the punch! 

One example Kalypso shared with concrete benefits is from a design services firm that used social media to recruit people to provide feedback on packaging for a new consumer product. According to the firm, “The total cost was 1,600 GBP plus the cost of postage as compared to a comparable traditional focus group, which would be 5,000 GBP and would require six to seven groups to get to the right demographic.”

There are smart businesspeople using the power of social media to build raving fans, reduce their business overheads whilst speeding up the time it takes to deliver a product to market. Whilst there are others who are wondering where to find the expertise.

Recently I had a very interesting conversation with someone at Oracle and I asked the question “How much money can be saved within customer service departments if social media is used?” He said “Some of the projects worked on they had saved companies over a 1/3 of their customer service costs.” 

Business processes that used to take forever and frustrate the customer are coming to an end!

Yes the rate of change is fast (such a boring conversation now) if you haven’t worked out how to engage your customers, lower costs, shorten product development cycles and build raving fans then perhaps we should have a conversation.

Email me on nat@natschooler.comor tweet me for fast response @natschooler

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