When product definition and usability are critical, ask customers to provide photographs or videos of how the product will be used. Then, allow this user generated content to strongly influence decision-making.
We recently completed a benchmark study on the application of social methodologies to the product creation processes. Our research resulted in the identification of 10 best practices – one of which included the use of multimedia to capture how targeted customers would use the products.
The consumer products company in this case study challenged themselves to increase the number of products they simultaneously delivered while also accelerating time to market. One of the best accelerants to time to market was including customer submitted photographs into the design process. These photos stimulated idea creation and product definition. Photographic input is much richer than a survey, and much more accurate. Also, making all the photographs available to the customer community provided a more meaningful context for probing and further exploration.
- The company hit its goal of both simultaneous introduction and time to market.
- Inclusion of the photographs from the focused target market enhanced contextual product definition and highly influenced usability elements such as packaging for product mobility.
- It also resulted in measurable cost reduction due to fewer iterations of the design process.
Customers are already using social media to influence decision making in the areas of marketing and customer support. Use their enthusiasm to help you build a product that will delight them.