How to Benefit from the Customer-Made Trend

Of all the multitudinous messages in my email each month, there is the rubbish and there is the gold. One of the golden messages is always the Trendwatching ezine.

The May edition, which focuses on the ‘Customer-Made’ trend, is no exception. ‘Customer-Made’ is summed up as follows: the phenomenon of corporations creating goods, services and experiences in close cooperation with consumers, tapping into their intellectual capital, and in exchange giving them a direct say in what actually gets produced, manufactured, developed, designed, serviced, or processed.

The issue is worth reading just for the examples. Warning: you should not have anything else more urgent to do for the next 20 minutes or more.

Make sure you don’t miss the customer-made Nike ad with the footage of  Tiger Woods: even if, like me, you’re not a golfer, it’s a transcendent moment.

Yes, a subscription to Trendwatching is free.

The examples given are very corporate – Nike etc. But the logic is essentially the same for solopreneurs and other small businesses interested in the idea of engaging customers in the development and improvement of products and services.

For example, if you provide training services, what about putting on a free seminar where you exchange some great ideas and training techniques in exchange for a brainstorming session about ways you can improve what you offer? Some providers of services may find this a bit threatening (very threatening?) so maybe they need to find another way.

But those who have confidence in their services and have quality customers will see a great opportunity to stretch and also to have a product which will almost certainly be more attractive to customers and prospects.

The report also touches, lightly, on the significant issue of intellectual property rights for products developed by customers or with customer input along the lines covered by the report.

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About Des Walsh

I show business owners and other professionals how to navigate the social media maze and use LinkedIn effectively. I'm an author, speaker, business coach, social media strategist and LinkedIn specialist. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get my weekly Social Business Bites.