CMG: Co-creating with customers is rising in product innovation

Marketing consultancy's latest report, The Customer: Your #1 Resource to Innovation, sets out why customer interaction is so important in product development and innovation

How CMOs and brands are better interacting with customers around product development and innovation has been put under the spotlight in a new report by US marketing consultancy, CMG Partners.

The The Customer: Your #1 Resource to Innovation report is based on a series of interviews with marketing and business leaders discussing the changing dynamic around customer engagement when building new products and services.

The report notes the emphasis now placed on customer interaction in what CMG labels the ‘M&3Cs’ of product development – market, customer, capabilities and competition – thanks to rising opportunities for customer engagement through digital, social and mobile channels. It also advises companies to keep their eye on the customer, rather than focusing on the art of innovation for its own sake, as well as embrace agile methodologies for product development.

The report then outlines six approaches CMOs are taking to innovate and establish best practices around better conversations with their customers as a competitive advantage.

The first of these examples is from database management vendor, Informatica, which has formed ‘productive advisory councils’ featuring select customer groups that participate in the full product development cycle. According to its VP of product marketing, Ravi Shankar, the company ran five product advisory councils last year featuring key customers that looked at the impact of trends including big data and mobile.

“When we conduct our product advisory councils, we get a sense of how the customers are moving in a particular direction related to those trends,” he stated in the report.

Shanker said the first driver in modern product development is Informatica’s current customer base of hundreds of enterprise-level software clients.

“We invite them to come to us and say ‘I need X, Y and Z to be done on the product so that I can take it to the next level’,” he stated in the report. But that’s not to say the focus is purely on customers.

“The second driver we need to understand is the company perspective in terms of where the company is going, what kind of features we are talking about releasing and how that may impact the sales cycle,” Shanker said. “The third driver is market movement. I need to know where the market is moving from a trend perspective.”

Another example detailed in CMG’s report is Samsung’s use of mobile customer data to inform new product releases and products. The vendor’s general manager and head of global services, Chris Jo, explained his team leverages data and interactions with customers in multiple ways, sometimes forming a community base to drive interactions, or using its app store to engage via comments.

“It’s not just one-way. We strive for two-way communication so we make sure that we really understand what our customers want – whether they are complaining or complimenting,” he said.

A third example listed is tax and accounting firm, Thomson Reuters’ use of customer forums and focus groups for product development and customer experience improvements. According to its CMO, Tobias Lee, a big challenge it faced was collaborating more closely across functions in the business. At the same time, capturing early customer and industry feedback is also something it’s striving to be more proactive about.

“To build specific forums, we partner with professional associations,” he said. “For one association, we planned a strategic sponsorship of their event with a session around the tax executive. We hosted that forum and use it as a launch pad for a new product called Checkpoint Catalyst. It was a hybrid of a controlled release and a show-and-tell.”

CMG partner, Mark Chinn, said CMOs and product leaders are increasingly faced with better informed and more demanding customers.

“Those leaders who engage their customers for new product insights and innovation – and who act on those insights – have the competitive advantage in today’s market,” he claimed.

More on this topic

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments
cmo-xs-promo

Latest Videos

More Videos

Thanks for your feedback, Rabi. While we introduced the ROO concept using a marketing example, I also believe that it is pertinent to man...

Iggy Pintado

Introducing Return on Outcome (ROO) - Brand science - CMO Australia

Read more

Thanks for your insight, Philip. Return On Outcome (ROO) requires balanced thinking with the focus on outcomes as opposed to returns.

Iggy Pintado

Introducing Return on Outcome (ROO) - Brand science - CMO Australia

Read more

Beautiful article.

Hodlbaba

15 brands jumping into NFTs

Read more

"Blue" is really gorgeous and perfectly imitates a human customer support operator. Personally, I won't order a chatbot development for m...

Nate Ginsburg

Why the newest member of BT’s contact centre is a chatbot

Read more

As today’s market changes rapidly, the tools we use change, and it is important to adapt to those changes to continue to succeed in busin...

Anna Duda

Report: 10 digital commerce trends here to stay

Read more

Blog Posts

How the pandemic revealed the antidote to marketing’s image problem

What does marketing truly ‘own’ in most organisations? Brand and campaigns, definitely. Customer experience? That remains contested ground.

Murray Howe

Founder, The Markitects

Still pursuing a 360-degree view of the customer?

On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” It may have been true in 1993 when this caption to a Peter Steiner cartoon appeared in the New Yorker. But after 30 years online, it’s no longer the case.

Agility in 2022

Only the agile will survive and thrive in this environment and that’s why in 2022, agility will need to be a whole-business priority.

Sam McConnell

Melbourne bureau chief, Alpha Digital

Sign in