Not too long ago, when a company engineered products and services, it relied entirely on its internal development team (e.g R&D, Design, Packaging, Brand Teams, etc) to provide suggestions and evaluations. After they conceived the idea, created and fine-tuned those offerings, they released and marketed them without any further testing.
Nowadays, consumers, suppliers, vendors, distributors and others can play much more of an active role throughout the process. Businesses receive detailed responses to new ideas/products via social media and other forms of communication as development progresses. Some companies take it a step further and often provide potential customers with materials and other support so that they can help devise new goods and services on their own. This process is called co-creation.
Co-Creation in Modern Marketing
Value co-creation concept and measurement emerged in the year 2000. C.K. Prahalad and Venkat Ramaswamy, two professors at the University of Michigan, came up with the word “co-creation” in 2004 to describe this phenomenon; however co-creation didn’t really become used in business until the early 2010s. The truth is, it still has a great deal of unrealized potential. In the coming decades, it could totally revolutionize commerce as we know it.
The Advantages of Co-Creation
Implementing means of value co-creation concept and measurement may push your company well beyond the limits of what feels safe and comfortable. However, the benefits of co-creation can be immense. For one thing, smaller companies can now compete more effectively against larger brands when it comes to development. This system will also let you satisfy the demand for a certain product or service as quickly as possible.
Conversely, large companies that have hit the creative wall, can use co-creation to enhance their internal creative team. The voices of their co-creation partners can serve as the inspiration to reawaken dormant creative talent.
When your business gathers ideas from a huge pool of talented, insightful individuals, you’ll have more exciting pieces of merchandise to sell. And with all of that feedback at your disposal, you’ll greatly reduce your risk of a certain type of disaster: introducing a product that the public has no use for or interest in. That situation can be ruinous.
Opportunities and Challenges
In all of this, you should be interacting with your customers, aka your co-creators, in as many ways as you can and as often as you can. Bring them into the process as early on as possible. There will be some pushback within your organization as many are hesitant to try new approaches and tend to stick with what they know. It is your job to help push the envelope and engage your customers early and often.
A New Strategy for a New Generation
In some ways, consumers are more demanding now than ever before. In fact, many young adults expect a great deal of interactivity from businesses of all kinds. If they feel that a company isn’t responding to their suggestions and criticisms, they will shop elsewhere.
On the flip side, people tend to be especially loyal to the brands they love. And when you trust your customers enough to let them become co-creators, they’re sure to feel empowered and, as a sign of social reciprocity, will spread many positive messages about your company.