Gone are the days when company execs meet in boardrooms to decide which products we as consumers need. In order to stay relevant and succeed in today’s competitive marketplace it’s necessary for companies to engage their consumer stakeholders to hear what they actually want. Increasingly companies are looking to consumers to not only help design products, but also to advertise via word-of-mouth a la social media and to ultimately help shape the future of their businesses.
Examples of this can be seen absolutely everywhere, from small start-ups to major international conglomerates. In the 19th century the Oxford English Dictionary asked volunteers to contribute sentence examples for every word in the English language. More recently, Starbucks leveraged consumer ideas with MyStarbucksIdea.com, while Dell (perhaps the most famous example of them all) engaged customers with their Idea Storm community.
The three cases highlighted above are all examples of large companies, but what about smaller ones? One such company that I’m particularly fond of (and not only because I work there) is Ramius Corporation. Traditionally a vendor of community platforms, Ramius has taken a slight turn. About a year ago we started noticing a trend; our customers were increasingly using our Sixent platform to conduct MROCs. Sixent, a traditional enterprise social network, actually performed quite well in this situation. However, because our customers were increasingly asking for this type of ESN adaptation we thought “why not build a product specifically for market researchers?”
Unlike large companies that can call upon an army of volunteers, we sat down with a handful of our Market Research customers. Over the course of a few months we learned what their idea of the ultimate, dream online qualitative market research tool would be. Based on these conversations and our expertise building social networking software, we designed Recollective. Recollective is a natural complement to our successful suite of social networking platforms. Although not released yet, we’re anticipating great success. Like the success stories highlighted above, we listened to what our customers were asking for, solicited them for advice on must-have tools/features and have designed what we believe will be every qualitative researcher’s online dream tool. Check out our feature sheet to read the specifics, or stay tuned for more blogs coming shortly that will highlight why every market researcher needs to be aware of this innovative, ground breaking technology!