Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Crowdsourced Product Ideas = Engaged Customers

Sarah Barmak, writing in Canadian Business posted on Marketing, makes a very important point about crowdsourced product ideas.

You know, like PepsiCo's Frito-Lay "Do Us A Flavor" contest (2014 winner: Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger flavor) and Tim Hortons' "Duelling Donuts" vote (2014 winner: Love Reese's to Pieces, shown at right).

The contests draw lots and lots of ideas: Hortons received more than 76,000 entries.

Will these crowdsourced flavors become perennials on grocery shelves? Unlikely. They're new and they're different, which is much of the appeal.

For variety-seeing consumers, they'll be fun to try and talk about. For stores, they'll build traffic and attention. For a limited time.

The real value is in engaging customers, generating excitement, and revealing how and where customers prefer to interact and communicate with brands.

The head of PepsiCo Food Canada explains: "As we evaluated last year’s [Do Us a Flavor] program, we found that consumers want to engage on other channels as well." As a result, PepsiCo expanded voting platforms beyond Facebook to include Instagram, Twitter, even text messaging.

The more platforms, the merrier--more ways to reach out to consumers, more ways to hear from consumers, more brand awareness, more excitement.

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