The Power of Collaborating with Consumers

Light bulbs drawn on a blackboard.
Written by: Connections Marketing

Are you ready to harness the power of collaboration?

Brands large and small saw just how important direct consumer collaboration has become in recent years. Simply put, it requires communication with your customer base or potential buyers and leads brands to take actions based on the input of outsiders. When successful, this type of collaboration benefits everyone involved, including your business. It was crucial to survival during the pandemic, but the practice of involving the input of outsiders was already trending long before then.

Why Collaborate with Your Customers?

The practice of listening to customers can be elevated to an art in the right hands. Consumer collaboration in marketing is realized when consumers, marketers and other players work together to create a product, service, or experience that is better than what would have otherwise been created.

This marketing approach is increasingly common as a means of building relationships and reaching target customers in retail and manufacturing. At its most basic, it’s about working together to create something of greater value. You get to improve the experiences of potential and current customers and boost your bottom line, while they enjoy higher-quality products and services more relevant to their needs.

Brands are Saving Dough Through Co-Creation Platforms – a.k.a. Crowd Development

Marketers can get a lot of inspiration from the ways other, often bigger brands are using open-source platforms to their advantage. Some have co-created projects with outsiders. Others have made themselves much more accessible to their audience, whether for sharing ideas or simply making it easier to receive and hear feedback.

DeWalt, a leading manufacturer of power tools, launched an online co-creation forum in 2015 for customers to contribute product development ideas. The company says it saved nearly $6 million in research costs thanks to the forum, where users offered tips such as how to improve a new line of cordless hammer drills. Thousands of respondents, including home users as well as professional tradespeople, log on to provide a range of product suggestions on packaging, product development, and even the company’s website usability. It allowed them to feel more heard and involved – keeping the brand top of mind in future conversations.

Best Tools for Creating Collaborative Connections with Shoppers

Consumer collaboration can take on many different forms. If there is a way to interact with the customer, then there’s a way for that interaction to turn into a meaningful collaboration. Your organization is likely already using some of these common methods to expand your audience and connect with consumers:

  • Organic conversations
  • Social media
  • Network-based recordings and analytics
  • Video feedback
  • Other web-based collaborations

However, connect offline, too. Face-to-face connections are not just possible, but they can be every bit as useful as online ones. After all, word of mouth will always be a strong driver of sales.

The Potential Role of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Other Technology

In the age of digital communication, technology is central to collaborating with parties outside of organizations. For example, many organizations are relying on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools to coordinate and manage its relationship with current and potential customers over time. CRM systems help businesses manage their interactions with customers by automating a range of tasks, such as order management, email correspondence, customer service, and help-desk operations. This kind of digital platform streamlines the creation of relationships between brands and consumers — and it’s becoming increasingly vital as a way of keeping up with evolving consumer behaviors and opinions.

Get Direction from your Digital Marketing Partner

Your future marketing campaigns will likely benefit from some form of consumer collaboration. If not, your brand may be missing out on a fairly cost-effective opportunity. After all, soliciting opinions doesn’t have to suck time or resources away from other projects. It may even free up hours in your schedule and help spark innovative ideas. A well-matched digital marketing partner can show you the best way to get started.

Connections Marketing is ready to help your brand incorporate collaborative features, online or off. Our team of experts can oversee your whole campaign or simply take some of the load off your plate.  Contact us today to discuss ways to ensure your next campaign is a success.

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