Traditional marketing has given way to a new era of digital marketing where social media and customer input are king. Gone are the days of sending direct mail pieces and emails to massive lists of customers and crossing your fingers that you hear back from at least a few of them. Now, with the help of social platforms like Influitive, creating partnerships and relationships with customers is not only possible, but is actually the key to building new campaigns, content and product development.
Influitive is a customer advocacy platform that allows companies to reach a wider audience, build their brand and accelerate sales pipelines all with the help of existing customers. Influitive’s point-based, highly interactive platform encourages customers to provide marketing content like white papers and case studies, offer feedback on new product releases and become references for future customers, all in return for recognition and rewards. Not only does the platform allow for companies to get the feedback and content they require to recruit new customers, but it also creates a thriving community where the company and its customers can work together to ultimately create a better product.
Take for example Influitive’s VIP program, a hub for people interested in learning more about customer advocacy and considering Influitive for their organization. The idea is brilliant: get potential customers to sign up for a free demo of the product, while, at the same time, have these potential customers share product feedback and reviews for rewards like gift cards or free tickets to Influitive’s annual conference. Influitive’s VIP hub allows the company to understand what people are looking for in its product and to work alongside these advocates on future product development.
Crowdsourcing as a product development tool
Dr. Jillian Ney, a digital behaviourist, told Forbes back in 2016 that utilizing social tools to listen to customers is so much more than just marketing. By putting more attention into listening, organizations could discover things that have generally been beyond focus groups and brainstorming sessions and achieve the Holy Grail of “meeting unmet needs.” Crowdsourcing, which has been made possible by social media, has become a popular tool for product development and design because it facilitates the mass participation in collaborative activity. This listening on the part of the organization combined with the collaboration and participation by large groups of people, allows new ideas to emerge quickly and at a much lower cost than traditional marketing efforts.
Influitive gathers feedback within its Influitive VIP AdvocateHub by allowing relevant advocates to opt in to exclusive product feedback or beta testing groups. For example, Influitive may ask its advocates to tell them which features are most important to them in three key categories in order to help them prioritize their product roadmap. Here’s how Influitive posed the question:
Your wish is our command. Give us some feedback on our product roadmap.
Earlier this week, the Influitive team made some tough decisions on our product roadmap. Out of our list of 20 near term items, we each got 3 choices to help prioritize. Now it’s your turn:
1. Of the following Administrator product features, please select 1 item that you think we need to work on immediately.
2. Of the following Advocate product features please select 1 item that you think we need to work on immediately.
3. Of the following look/feel and workflow features, please select 1 item that you think we need to work on immediately.
From this, Influitive has direct insight from its customers that will help influence its product roadmap and future product development. At the same time, having these advocates provide feedback gives them a sense of importance and ownership in the company’s success, ensuring future collaboration and participation in future product releases and testing.
Lessons for Others
Engaging with customers using traditional methods of marketing is becoming increasingly difficult. Social platforms like Influitive use the power of crowdsourcing and social media to drive product development, feedback and product testing, while at the same time putting the needs of the customer at the forefront.
The lessons Influitive teaches on the power of social media and product development are two-fold: 1. Utilizing a platform to gather customer feedback and help with product testing is a less expensive, faster and more efficient way to launch better products prospective customers will actually want to use, and 2. Creating a relationship with customers that is based on listening and genuine collaboration encourages further advocacy and partnership on product development initiatives in the future.
Industry: Customer Advocacy
Name of Organization Contact: NA
Authored by: Christina Wild
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Jowett, C. (2016, July 13). How Advocacy Programs Make Product Feedback Initiatives Better. Retrieved October 30, 2017 from https://influitive.com/blog/why-advocacy-programs-make-product-feedback-initiatives-easier-more-valuable/
Trapp, R. (2016, November 29). Why Businesses are Using Social Media To Listen To Their Customers. Retrieved October 30, 2017 from https://www.forbes.com/sites/rogertrapp/2016/11/29/why-businesses-are-using-social-media-to-listen-to-their-customers/#4770d17357c2