Opinion poll: 5 things RAF taught Migros

 Summary : David Cameron knows that public approval of RAF air strikes against ISIS in Syria has dropped.
We explain what this teaches Migros, Lidl and Tesco about new product research.

CLICK - CONFIDENCE in measuring ROI of social media and display ads is LOW

Some weeks ago I came across a report (see image) that stated just 29 percent of people feel confident in measuring the ROI (return on investment) of display ads and this drops to just 22 percent for social media marketing.

Accordingly, management is interested in improving its understanding with analyses and analytics when it comes to social media activities. But do managers or politicians understand what we are trying to communicate or convey to them?

If managers read blog entries like this one about how to do surveys, it’s no surprise that they believe it is all easy and cheap to do.

This is the fifth post in a series of entries about big data. Others so far are:

Data analytics: Lessons learned from Ebola
Scottish referendum: A false sense of precision?
– Facebook mood study: Why we should be worried!
– Secrets of analytics 1: UPS or Apple?

Confusion abounds

How are management or politicians supposed to understand the difference between analytics, data and analysis? Can we trust polls or should we learn from the Scottish disaster?

For instance, when we go to a dictionary of statistics and methodology from 1993 (Paul Vogt), neither analytics nor business analytics has an entry, never mind data analysis.

Kuhn: Unless we share a vocabulary, we are not a discipline

However, these days, some would claim data analytics is a science (e.g., Margaret Rouse). Still, if something can be called a science (e.g., physics or neuropsychology), its members share a certain set of beliefs, techniques and values (Gattiker 1990, p. 258).

Do people in data analytics or data analysis share a vocabulary and agree to the meaning of basic terms? Not that I am aware of. Therefore, Thomas Kuhn’s (1970) verdict would be: Not a science (yet).

In web analytics, data analytics or data science as well as social media marketing we agree to disagree. But maybe I can clarify some things.

Sign up for our newsletter; this post is the first in a series of entries on business analysis and analytics.

2 things business, data, financial and web analytics have in common

1. All analytics is art that involves the methodical exploration of a set of data with emphasis on statistical analysis.

2. All analytics include the examination of qualitative and quantitative data.

Analytics gives you the numbers, but fails to provide you with insights. For that, we must move from analytics to analysis, and we only gain the necessary insights if we do the analysis correctly.

The graphic above illustrates that proper data is the foundation for doing analytics that permit a thorough analysis. Accordingly, using a sample that is not representative of our potential clients or voters is risky.

Nobody would draw any conclusions about attendance at next season’s football matches by asking a sample of baseball afficionados. So, go ahead and ask your social media platform users to vote for this season’s favourite flavoured drink syrup. But such a poll won’t give you an answer that is representative of your customer base.

Nevertheless, this is exactly what Migros did in 2015 (see Migipedia – few very young users participated in the poll, less than 10 wrote a comment during January 2015). It then published a one-page ad (among many more, see below) in its weekly newspaper (e.g., November 30, 2015), claiming that the chai flavour was the winner.

Making such a decision based on this type of unrepresentative poll is a risky choice. You may actually choose to increase production of the wrong flavour!

Collecting data that is based on a representative sample of your customers is a costly exercise.

So why not use your online ‘community’ to do a ‘quick and dirty’ poll?

Surely a Twitter, Facebook or website / corporate blog poll is economical. You do it fast and easy and voilà, you got what you need, right? NOT.

Okay agreed, doing the above will strengthen your hand with a CEO. They might not grasp basic methodology issues of sampling or survey research. Plus, you got data from your online community, which is another reason to invest more money there.

In the Migros example above, having an online poll on your Migipedia platform achieves 3 things:

1. it allows your marketing folks and community managers to show the platform is useful for something;

2. regardless of which flavour wins and gets produced, you can always push it in your company newspaper. This way you reach 3 million readers in Switzerland – a country that has 7.8 million inhabitants,

3. even if the new product turns out to be a flop, thanks to other marketing channels, you sell 150,000 to 300,000 (or more) 1-liter bottles of chai tea syrup during the Christmas Season.

With its many resources and varied marketing channels (e.g., weekly Migros Magazin), Migros can ‘afford’ to use shabby research. It is in the enviable position to succeed, in spite of ‘spending’ so much.

The company might never learn that its analysis actually led the team to choose the second or even third best choice. Nonetheless, your marketing clout ensures that you can show it to management as an example of having done the right thing. Of course, we know it was done for the wrong reasons, but since management probably won’t find out, who cares – right?

One poll is worse than none

As the above image from last week regarding air strikes in Syria shows, poll results can change quite a bit within a week.

For starters, no pollster wanting to stay in business will use a non-representative sample to get opinions. Using such data is unlikely to give you the insights you need for Hillary Clinton or any other candidate to succeed during next year’s US election.

I left the above comment at the end of the blog post (it has not been published by YouGov so far). I asked about things that a good pollster will always publish with the poll results.

For instance, I asked how data were collected, whether the sample is representative, and what the margin of error was. I could not find any information about any of that. Of course, trust is not improved when one fails to publish a reader comment that raises method issues about your poll.

“YouGov draws a sub-sample of the panel that is representative of British adults in terms of age, gender, social class and type of newspaper (upmarket, mid-market, red-top, no newspaper), and invites this sub-sample to complete a survey.”

How exactly this happens with YouGov we do not know, since the methodology outlined on its website is not very detailed.

But David Cameron knows that while 5 million people have joined the ranks of those opposed to airstrikes in Syria in the past seven days, that could change next week. Polls are more interesting when they show a trend, so Mr Cameron still has hope that the opposition even more.

5 key pointers for explaining the analyst's work to your management: The case of survey research or polling

Collecting quality data is followed by analytics, which subsequently require analysis to draw the proper insights. Analysis requires words in addition to looking at the numbers.

To tackle this challenge successfully, we need to do some preparation, as outlined below.

1. Do you have a strategy or a plan?

What is it you want to collect data for and why? This must be explained in a few sentences.

How will these data help you win the election, get the contract or sell more product?

2. How will data help you execute the plan?

You must know what data you need or the rationale for wanting them (see point 1).

What three steps will you take in the next quarter or six months to execute your strategy?

3. Are the numbers complete?

Most monitoring services can tell you everything about Facebook or Twitter.

But what about smaller websites from climate change activist groups, ISIS sympathesizers or peace activitists’ blogs?

Make sure you get the data you need. Is your sample representative of those whose opinion you must know?

4. Do you need social media monitoring?

Knowing what people say about your brand or company is a good thing. The Volkswagen emission scandal (remember #dieselgate) teaches us that in a crisis, simply monitoring the flood of tweets and status updates on Facebook or LinkedIn is of little use.

Like Volkswagen, you can decide to ignore the social media noise. Change your behaviour and communicate openly and directly (click for German-language radio report).

Unless you use social media monitoring to take action after the data are in, why collect it?

5. Do you have data from your customers?

If you have less than 1,000 employees, don’t make a big fuss about social media monitoring.

Focus on things that matter, such as what your clients report regarding warranty service, and the quality of phone support or user manuals. A tweet matters little.

Feedback can be collected in many ways, including customer surveys, discussions with clients or comments on your corporate blog.

Analysing these data provides insights that help improve product, service and so forth.

What it means

Focus on collecting data that help you serve your customers better. Getting a daily digest about the most important key words regarding your brand (e.g., we use DrKPI, #DrKPI, DrKPI BlogRank, #metrics #socbiz) is probably all you need. Instant data may not be needed unless you are a FT Global 500 company.

Restrict yourself to collecting only those data you absolutely and definitely must have.

Make sure that they meet some minimum quality standards. Only this will enable you to trust the analytics and analysis resulting from that work.

Actionable metrics are what matters

Unreliable or invalid data from clients, social media monitoring and opinion polls is a waste of resources.

Please keep in mind, just collecting data without taking action is a navel-gazing exercise.

Bottom line

Always ensure that analytics leads to analysis that goes beyond navel-gazing metrics. Answer these questions truthfully:

A. What will be done with the findings: Unless you take action based on your data, why measure and collect information at all?

B. What kind of data was collected: Make sure you understand how data were collected. Can this polling data be trusted to be representative of the population (e.g., consumers in my country)?

How was something like influence (e.g., Klout) measured (what kind of proxy measure was used)?

If it is not transparent to you, move on and do not waste your time with such a measure or index.

Keep points A and B in mind before you collect data and / or use somebody else’s findings.

‘Total X’ combines xyz Labs’ proprietary Rambo social media measurement tool, and WalkBack®, the leading measurement source of WOM marketing from the Sambo Group, a Laughing Stock company.

Okay, what does the above mean? Who would want to trust this gobbledygook? If marketers or pollsters cannot explain things clearly and precisely, they tend to cover it up in jargon that tells you nothing.

Regardless, 2016 will mark the year where Lidl, Migros and Tesco will do more of these utterly useless polls, to find another ‘winner’ for a new flavour of drink syrup, mustard or soft drink.

Even though social media, community and marketing managers will claim a victory this year, with so much additional marketing around, who is surprised? Put differently, regardless which syrup the company – Migros – would have produced, I dare to claim it would have flown off the shelf anyway.

Combine all the ads and marketing push, and if it tastes okay, success is in the bag. Unfortunately, those that hate research will attribute part of this success to a useless online poll.

Next time you read something like the above, claiming to rank something, check the methodology. Cannot find anything? Just move on because it is probably hogwash.

Interesting reading

Vogt, Paul W. (1993). Dictionary of statistics and methodology. Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications. For information see https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/dictionary-of-statistics-methodology/book233364 (5th edition 2016).

2 great reading lists for additional resources about research, polls, survey data and much more:

1. http://guides.library.cornell.edu/c.php?g=31819&p=201525
2. http://www.lse.ac.uk/methodology/study/Preliminary-Reading-List.aspx

Join the conversation

  1. Do you have an example of a great poll / study?
  2. What is your favourite marketing measure?
  3. What research methodology would you recommend?
  4. Other ideas or concerns you have about marketing research, please state it here.

Of course, I will answer you in the comments. Guaranteed.

Urs E. Gattiker

Professor Urs E. Gattiker - DrKPI is corporate Europe's leading social media metrics expert (see his books). He continues to work with start-ups. Urs is CEO of CyTRAP Labs GmbH and President of the Marketing Club Lago, a member of the German Marketing Association (DMV).

13 thoughts on “Opinion poll: 5 things RAF taught Migros

  • 11. December 2015 at 8:59
    Permalink

    Update 2015-12-11

    My comment on YouGov (UK) (see screenshot above)…. was never published. YouGov uses the Disqus commenting system. Hence, I checked, the comment did not end up in the spam box

    However, my comment is still in YouGov’s comment moderating box, i.e. not released so far as the others to be shown on their webpage. Neat way, you just do not moderate a comment and you never have to face the music or reply to the questions. This is social media 101: How to kill trust and dialogue in your blog’s content.

    When people ask questions that indicate that the method should be explained properly, those writing seem to ignore it or simply delete it.
    That appears to happen at YouGov – the UK site doing polls for the gov, newspapers and so forth in Britain.

    This is, of course, an effective way to stop any dialog from ever happening. Are we back to Web 1.0 where Broadcasting is the norm?

    What do you think?

    Reply
  • Pingback: Azubi | digitales Marketing | Strategie | Recruiting | Influencer

  • 12. January 2016 at 0:37
    Permalink

    Dear Urs

    thanks for sharing your insights and experiences, you´ve observed with Migros Chai Latte & YouGov.

    On your YouGov observations I can only say: “Krass” – which means in german something like: can´t believe it or OMG 😉 – that would be really crazy, if they act like this in their polls…(btw: it´s also not a good behaviour to treat comments like yours in that way).

    I completely agree with your thoughts on research – brands/companies should not only go for simple quick & dirty polls for a decision making on new product developements – especially if they use a very small database of some 20 people. They should go for deeper and representative research.

    But – although it looks like Migros did this – you could be wrong with your thoughts:
    – They could have add additional data – not from the user crowd by simple asking them, but from real, broader market research (we both dont´know this actually). If you just google Chai Latte you will find more than some 10.000 results for it, so market chance for a product like this could be a little bit higher than you assume
    – it was only a season´s and a short time trend product – that´s why you can´t find it anymore (means not it was no success)
    – maybe it was only a simple test, and maybe it was easy (and low in costs) to produce (as you wrote: they don´t have so high investment costs like other companies because they have the production & the media to try out things)
    – if they sold 150.000 bottles/SKUs and made a profit with it – than it´s of course a real success. Not every product (especially if it is a short time trend product) has the need to become a longseller.

    So, what is your problem – that migros only did a “shabby” poll? Of course they could have done more on getting more detailed insights – e.g. do a bigger pretesting campaign with their community.

    But sometimes it´s also as simple in the new collaborative marketing era of the customer as the Migros case shows: Invite your customers to co-create, ask them simple what they want, prefer, like and deliver it to them. And by the way: 9 out of 10 Consumers view brands more positively when they involve customers in product development and 90% of consumers are more likely to purchase products from companies who involve them in co-creation – shows a study by Ipsos SMX in 2014. So involving customers in cocreation can have also other impacts.

    As an expert for word of mouth and collaborative marketing I can name you dozens of cases, in which customers suggested great product improvements, new ideas for products or have co-created completely new products or variations. And this by just answering “simple” polls or just writing a post/thread or comment on a blog page. Clever and open minded brands, who ran this campaigns, did listen to this suggestions, used their big chance – and improved or developed successfully new products.

    Why does this work?
    1. Also in the good old days of the 80ties marketing detailed research sometimes failed – see the invention of Sony´s Walkman – which failed in all researches, but was however produced – because of the gut feelings of the Sony CEO.
    2. although brands make (and have made in the past) massive detailed research and have now big data and social analytics, 90% of all products still fail in market.
    3. today we have now the age of customer – by just asking them you invite them to collaborate and can involve them – maybe better than with any other marketing tactic. The result is a high(er) product relevance for the customer – as s/he was not involved in the co-creation of the product. And sometimes you (as a risk open, entrepeneur minded brand manager) only need some 20 people, to get a reconfirmation of your gut feelings.

    And maybe it´s not about longlasting products anymore in this more and more faster changing times – especially for FMCGs: https://www.bcgperspectives.com/content/articles/consumer_products_go_to_market_strategy_speed_to_win/?chapter=2 – so it´s also a question of time. Brands today have a need to become faster in product developement – and the collaboration with their customers can help them to develop better accepted products faster. And sometimes using a “shabby” poll could be just the right method, to give the customer what he wants.

    Reply
    • 12. January 2016 at 14:33
      Permalink

      Dear Mark
      Besides thanking you profously for this VERY thoughtful and insightful comment, I need to answer, oh dear, not easy 🙂
      I probably have to answer you in several steps. So here comes my first answer… You wrote:

      On your YouGov observations I can only say: “Krass” – which means in german something like: can´t believe it or OMG ? – that would be really crazy, if they act like this in their polls…(btw: it´s also not a good behaviour to treat comments like yours in that way).

      As of now today January 12, 2016 this comment is still in the moderator’s box and not published. It is what is called Pending review.

      Why das YouGov not release my comment - do they want a conversation or just approval of how great they are?

      As of today 60 comments have been published..

      Nevertheless, none of these ask about the method of the survey or poll. Everybody seems to be doing online surveys or Twitter polls. But when we come to the nitty gritty, i.e. the method, most people do not want to talk about it. But unless we are clear about the weaknesses of such work, we may base decisions on such surveys that cannot be repeated again… or do not reflect the opinion of our population.

      Instead they may foster scare mongering tactics but fail to provide us with verifiable evidence that something is actually happening or the opinion of the majority of those eligible to vote.

      Thanks for sharing Mark, much appreciated.

      Reply
      • 12. January 2016 at 15:03
        Permalink

        Well, I wonder now, what does this say about YouGov´s poll results in common? Can we still trust them as a source or is YouGov turning now into a simple “lets-do-a-poll-for-PR-reasons-machine”?

        For me, a research company, which doesn´t disclose their sources and research methods, isn´t a trustworthy source anymore.

        Reply
        • 12. January 2016 at 15:39
          Permalink

          Dear Mark

          Exactly … that is why I am writing a book entitled:

          Show me the numbers: Being a smart consumer of research

          Journalists are not guarantee that they check the facts, just this morning I read a study about gender discrimination in physics education grade 9/10 to 12 in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The NZZ journalist managed pretty well to copy the press release form the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology or ETH. But he or she failed to check-up on the numbers to realise that whilst there are gender effects (i.e. teenage women suffer by being graded lower than the teenage men in physics), the effect was not that grate as the author claimed.

          Main reason being the data showed lower effects than one might have guessed reading the press release and the paper’s abstract/ summary). Worst for me was that only 14 female physics teachers from Switzerland participated.
          With a 8 point checklist, most reader could catch these limitations themselves and thus take it from there.

          Here is the NZZ article, the press release that the NZZ journalist basically copied and the PDF file of the research paper: http://mem.to/t/g/60gaJR803

          So yes, you are right.
          I no longer trust the YouGov polls and published data (. I discussed why I have problems with the accuracy of such polls a while back on this blog: http://blog.drkpi.com/big-data-3/. The experience with the comment is just another nail that we can put in YouGov’s coffin.

          So now I go back explaining it to our clients 🙂

          Reply
    • 12. January 2016 at 14:49
      Permalink

      Dear Mark
      This is my second reply regarding your comment. Migros: 1st Comment
      Here I focus on Migros and things you write about this interesting experience about advertising and using a trial balloon for new products. I just do a quick copy and paste

      10.000 results (Google)… it was only a season´s and a short time trend product – that´s why you can´t find it anymore (means not it was no success) … 150.000 bottles/SKUs

      I totally agree with your reflections and insights provided. We do not know what additional things were used for data points and so forth. Nevertheless, my point was that regardless how we manage this, Migros unique position cannot be copied by somebody else. In other words, what may look to us as outsiders as failure considering the possibilities Migros has, it may still make a buck or two.

      All I want to say is that I learnt the hard way. If you are Gillette it is not that easy to get your product on the shelf of a large retailer such as Carrefour, Tesco, Walmart or Migros. But a huge advertising budget can help.
      When we tried to get our product on the shelf of retailers in the US, I had a real awakening or reality check. In the US our advertising budget had to be more than a six figure number. Not the country, just for California alone in the early 90s. Without it, retailers were not even interested so you had to cough up or leave.

      Of course, Switzerland is a bit cheaper but, nonetheless, getting shelf space with a retailer is a major undertaking and costs you plenty in direct or indirect costs (e.g., how much advertising will you do in our market and what channels…). And rest assured, they check if you spent what you said you would… 🙂

      Put differently, just to get your product on Migros’ shelf is a major undertaking. Moreover, I would not try to convince to carry one of my trial balloons.. of product. Mind you Migros will not give you 5 minutes to talk about this idea and test product you have 🙂

      Thanks

      Reply
      • 12. January 2016 at 15:19
        Permalink

        Dear Mark
        This is my THIRD reply regarding your comment. Migros: 2nd Comment

        A small but active group in a social community such as Migipedia will nearly every time have something to say, write, comment about… 5 cents worth a shout.

        Let us not overvalue these social communities …. they are neither representative of your clients nor necessarily a useful source of data according to Steve Jobs.

        His point always was, do not use focus groups…. If you ask them, for instance, about options on a smartphone, they want every option you ask them about… but in the end they need maybe only 2.. but those a lot…

        He claimed publicly that with focus groups you get an ‘old’ style Nokia Phone… without focus groups as Apple runs the show you can develop an iPhone 3 :-).

        Besides Jobs also felt that most of Apple’s customers would not have time to join such groups (maybe he is right, I am not sure…).

        Of course, this does not mean customers are not important. They are, of course.
        However, we should look more at smaller groups and how the can influence us. For instance, family and friends.
        If I need a quasi automatic coffee maker for the office and have to choose between Jura and Nespresso… I surely ask my friends and close associates what they would do… their experience, and so forth.

        If they tell me that the Nespresso machine fails about after 18 months … or thereabouts, I start thinking. Besides the capsules, changing the machine 24 months after having purchased it does not seem environment-friendly. And here I trust the word of my friends…
        Accordingly, this is word-of-mouth marketing as you so aptly describe above at its best. It clearly influences what I will buy. How much, I am not sure. Nevertheless, if my friends comment negatively about customer service and quality of a product while product tests I read about confirm this, no way that I will purchase this product.

        To end my sermon, I think what big companies call their social communities for clients such as Migipedia are greatly overrated. At least what the figures I get from our clients teach me about this.
        But I am sure that marketing and social community experts at Migros will come to that conclusion. The retailer will either make some smart changes or close it down within the next 24 months at the latest. Okay, I will be counted on this… but I am pretty sure that this prediction will stand up scrutiny.

        They, like most retailers, are fast learners.

        Reply
        • 12. January 2016 at 19:51
          Permalink

          First of all: Thanks for having this great conversation. It helps to get a better understanding, what works and what not for brands in the age of customers.

          This is also my last comment on your third (and last) reply-post.

          It´s correct, that 20 people in a focus group or maybe also 300 voters on Facebook are not representative. But in most cases on Migipedia they had votings with about 1000 – 5000 or more customers.

          Don´t get me wrong, I´m not a supporter of Migipedia, but I´m a big fan of collaboration with the customer.
          Here it´s about word of mouth recommendations, and especially the offline WOM of friends & family is more trustworthy than online reviews, that´s true. But it´s not only about word of mouth, customers today can do very much more for brands than only recommending.

          And this is what the example of Migipedia shows. Of course it´s not everything “golden” with Migipedia. I don´t know the plans of Migros´Migipedia Platform and it´s managers, but I think they could improve the platform. Actually they don´t use the whole circle of collaborative marketing possibilities (they call their areas “ideas”, “voting” and “testing”) – suggested product ideas are not always put to voting, and elected products are not tested. So they loose synergies and momentum. Also I´ve researched, that their Migipedia activities are not published social or completely cross media integrated. If they would do so, they would be a bigger output – and better result in research. And a bigger chance to get more representative results.

          If Social Communities are only based on brandpages and activities in Social Networks (like Facebook) then the output will be smaller, less representative – and I agree that this is overrated – like a lot of things in the so called the social media hype.

          But if you combine a brand owned community (like migipedia), with an offline panel (like your customer base in a loyalty program) and a social network fan base, if you go for real customer collaboration as intergarted part of your marketing – then it will not be overrated.

          Reply
          • 12. January 2016 at 20:08
            Permalink

            Dear Mark
            This is my THIRD reply regarding your comment Migros: 3rd Comment

            You write at the end:

            But if you combine a brand owned community (like migipedia), with an offline panel (like your customer base in a loyalty program) and a social network fan base, if you go for real customer collaboration as intergarted part of your marketing – then it will not be overrated.

            The above says it all I feel. It is clear that you need a collaboration. But my experience is that customers are good (e.g., Apple) to help improve the product (what color, etc.). Improvements yes, innovation no.

            Of course we have to define what innovation is – but in short we can say it is the new idea, product, process, material that we invented and implemented or brought to market. So customers do not come up with a new formula for a wash detergent. But they can use technology we produce in creative ways (what Hippel calls lead-users).

            So I disagree that yu can use your branded community, offline panel and social network fanbase to innovate. However, if you want to get ideas and support, YES communities are great for help and feedback 🙂

            Crowd-pleasing is no substitute for wise judgment see Post Finance: http://mem.to/t/g/26xbJR847 (users try to select the most innovative product / webpage).

            Like in one of my upcoming posts, crowds do not innovate, innovators make the difference.

            As you pointed out to me somewhere else:

            It is not easy to collaborate with clients since few want to particpate and spend the time. As well, if such participants are representative of our clients is a whole other issue.

            While people and clients are quick to point out mistakes or complain about service to help improve requires effort, patience and time. Most customers don’t want to. Most importantly, few decide with their input / wishes and preferences when it comes to product improvement. But basing product developments on the preferences of few clients (= non-representative sample) is a risky strategy.

            And if you are right Mark and 5% write more than 90% of all evaluations, such feedback is clearly not representative of the majority of our customers’ wishes and preferences.

            Thanks for sharing.

      • 12. January 2016 at 15:37
        Permalink

        Of course, you´re right with your analysis. If your are a small company, you will not have the opportunities like Migros as a big player. And therfor you need to verify your findings from your community, especially if these findings are based on only a small group of people.

        But you can do this completely consumer based in combination with public and big data analysis:

        If you get some new product ideas from let´s say an online discussion of 10 people, you should go on as a brand with a deeper verification process.

        So your next step could be e.g. aggregating more public data (from market or trend studies), also you could use the SEO monthly analysis (how many people searched for e.g. Chai Latte in the last year via google).

        If numbers are still interesting, then you could go on by asking your total customer base (with traditional research with a poll) and by opening the discussion to other forums/communities.

        If you don´t have this customer base, you could go to a company like http://www.trnd.com (disclosure: I work them as a speaker/ambassador) – they have some collaborative marketing formats & techniques, which you can use to get more insights (e.g. see here: http://company.trnd.com/en/products-solutions/co-creation-campaigns).

        Other opportunities are e.g. platforms like http://www.jovoto.com or atizo. Or – if you don´t have budget – you just try out crowdfunding. If you get people who are motivated to invest, then this is – in my opinion – the ultimative proof of concept for your product.

        Of course – by doing a collaborative product developement in public/semipublic – there could be a risk, that competitors see what you plan. But on the other hand, they don´t see all the insights and the learnings you make as a brand together with your potential customers. And they will not get the involvement and loyalty of your crowd.

        If you then have financed and produced the first charge of your products, then give it to (more or less) all of the people that helped you building it. As appreciation, to try out, test, verify, optimize, imrpoive etc.. And as a technique to generate Word of Mouth (WOM) for the next customer generation. From this point on your are on real collaborative marketing circle – WOM generates new customers and new insights for improvement and new variations or products and so on…

        The WOM generates also something else: A pull effect on retail. MyMuesli e.g. didn´t ask retail first to get into their shelfs, they only started in retail when retailers become interested in their product, because their customers told them (by WOM): “we want to buy this products in the supermarket”.

        Actually there is a good example for this new way of collaborative marketing: I Sea Pasta from http://seamorefood.com/ – just started, and they do it it completely that way. Another good (and successful) example is http://www.premium-cola.de/.

        Reply
        • 12. January 2016 at 15:54
          Permalink

          Hi Mark

          Sorry I am late coming back but ….
          These are great examples from the B2C front. I appreciate the links. These help readers to really get your message and take it for their own work. Merci

          I have been thinking about this word-of-mouth or viral marketing long and hard for a while. For us, with Software as a Service (SaaS) it is a step-by-step thing. For instance, recently we put a message in the footer of our blog to introduce our Pro service:

          Introducing DrKPI BlogRank Pro: Advanced data analysis and
          optimisation features for €199 / month ==> More Infos

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          People look at this but unless they talk to others that use the technology or hear us at a conference…. it is difficult to sell it online. We — especially me since I am responsible for selling — are getting better at this. But of course, we still need to improve.

          I am already happy when a customer subscribes to this blog. It is a first start. Usually the next step is he recommends it to somebody else… and then tells them how well our product works for improving their corporate blog.
          Once we talk to them and walk them through, the rest is history.
          Nevertheless, it is not easy and every day you have to do something good to get ahead whilst keeping your current clients happy and coming back for more.

          Thanks Mark for sharing your great insights.

          Reply
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