Over the past year, my colleague Andrew McInnes and I have immersed ourselves in the world of enterprise feedback management (EFM), which we define as follows:
A system of software and processes that enables organizations to centrally collect, analyze, and report on feedback from key customer groups and tailor insights for various internal users.
During this time, it has been a great experience talking with vendors and clients about how this technology tool enables companies to bring all of the customer data and information collected across channels together into one platform. This ability is more important than ever given that we have entered the “age of the customer” — a period marked by the rise of the empowered customer, who is armed with more information than ever before and who is now using a rapidly evolving set of devices as a means of engaging not only with friends and family but also with companies anytime and anywhere. To be successful in this new world, companies must understand how consumers interact across these multiple touchpoints; failure to do so can lead to a fragmented view of the customer.
While it is clear that companies must embrace EFM, what is not as clear is how they should navigate the EFM vendor landscape. This is due to the dozens of small vendors, evolving market segments, and increasing M&A activity. To help professionals within the marketing and strategy organization, Andrew and I decided to conduct a Forrester Wave™ evaluation of the EFM vendors.
This is the first in a series of question-and-answer blog posts with the CEOs of the vendors included in my recent Forrester Wave™: Co-Creation Contest Vendors, Q3 2011 (blog and report (for clients).
First up is Riley Gibson, CEO of Napkin Labs. Napkin Labs, a Boulder, Colorado-based shop, was identified as a "Strong Performer" in that report.
Doug: Co-creation contests are a new opportunity for product strategy professionals to solve business challenges, but many people are unfamiliar with them. What is your “elevator pitch” to potential clients about co-creation contests and the benefits they deliver?
Riley: Napkin Labs gives companies their own crowdsourcing platform to make their social networks more productive. Our platform is simple enough to launch in minutes and has a variety of apps that make collaboration, brainstorming, and consumer research simple for small businesses and large brands.
Doug: Why should product strategy professionals consider co-creation a business imperative at this point in time?
Riley: First it was email. Then it was social media. Now it's co-creation and crowdsourcing. Every new communication channel is an opportunity to build customer loyalty and gain insights in new ways. And eventually every company has to do it to remain relevant.
What's a co-creation contest? I'm so glad you asked. A co-creation contest is one type of social co-creation engagement that allows product strategy professionals to involve consumers directly in the product development process. Co-creation contests offer an innovative take on the generic crowdsourcing model to produce ideas, designs, content, or solutions that product strategy professionals can put to use. Typically, a challenge is posted to a community that works individually or collaboratively on solutions, with the best responses earning rewards. The community can consist of a variety of interesting participants, as depicted here:
Vendors in this space generally offer three things to their clients: access to a community, a technology platform on which to interact with said community, and professional services to ensure a successful engagement.