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vendredi 15 juillet 2011

Marketing : Five Rules for a Successful Consumer Co-creation

1. Give a real power to the consumer

With co-creation, one must give the consumer a golden opportunity to express him or herself but also to get involved with all the different steps – like imagining new communication forms or participating in the development of a prototype of a product or service. Not only the opportunity to vote for a product idea or send some tweets or "likes". Practice and knowledge of online communities facilitate and increase the possibility of consumer participation.

2. Co-creating with masses of people does not work

It is wrong to think that it is possible to co-create with any old consumer. One must use methods that allow to identify and screen a specific target of consumers – those which anticipate trends and thrive in co-creation : the lead-users. Being able to pinpoint and describe these individuals – who can foresee market needs and provide the best solutions for brands is an outstanding challenge for marketing research.

Clearly, only this small number of people are inventive and in tune with market desires. It defeats the purpose to carry out co-creation projects with masses of people who will produce varied results, leaving interesting ideas as difficult to locate as a needle in a haystack. Five groups of methods exist in order to identify lead-users.

3. Do not forget: it is the company who leads the innovation process

The main risk is in forgetting that it is above all the company – in particular the research and development (R&D) department – that is responsible for product innovation. You must not think that the consumer can replace this function. Engineers must keep the leadership of innovation. Co-creation stimulates innovation, but does not replace it.

Ideally, good co-creation is a symbiotic relationship with synergy between marketing and R&D departments and the consumer. Co-creation is the source of ideas which nourish the innovation process, which in-turn must continue to be run by the company.

4. Co-creation seen strictly as a trend to follow is inevitably going to fail

Today, some marketing managers are excited not only about the fact that consumers have ideas, but that they are also capable of co-producing, to make well-performing ads, or even develop products. However, certain companies are joining the co-creation movement simply because it is the latest managerial trend: this fad is a little scary. 

If a company is just going to take part because it is trendy, co-creation will not work. On the other hand, if there is a real approach, if there is an exchange with a group of consumers and not just any group of consumers, then it’s really a win-win situation. 

For companies, the 4 important questions to ask are: 
  • How do you choose “good” co-producers? 
  • How do you integrate co-creation into management? 
  • How could co-creation renew the value chain? 
  • How can you share value from co-creation with different stakeholders?

5. Start progressively

Companies that want to get started with co-creation have every reason to do a first test just to experiment and learn from this new strategic process. Before dedicating oneself entirely, these companies should associate themselves with experts in the field, like marketing consultants – and also turn to academic researchers who work on the subject. They can start progressively by doing a first test and then, after correcting the aim, go for the kill!

Excerpts from an Eric Vernette's interview conduct by Indre Liepuoniute and posted on July 11, 2011, e-Yeka

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