1)How does your organization gather and apply customer input to its new product or service development efforts? Is this process effective? Why or why not? How might it be improved? (1page)(2 reference)
My organization uses customer interviews to evaluate the outcomes of a customer interaction. We take them through every step of the process and figure out how the customer feels about a particular step. Whatever steps we see need improvement, we take steps to shape them according to the customer’s wishes, bearing in mind their particular needs and requirements. We only interview customers, and not retailers and people who work for the company, in order to only get the information we need from the people who have the end result of an interaction with our company in mind. (Ulwick 2002)
This process is effective, because we get the most accurate and pointed results from our customers. They are not shy to give us the honest answers we are looking for, as we give them incentives regardless of quality of outcome (free merchandise simply for participating in our process), and our interviewers and moderators are very good and getting these more specific details out of the interviewees. (Ulwick 2002)
If we were to improve it, we would do so through greater communication with our customers throughout the process. We normally just get customers at the end point of the process, but we would like to get input from people who just look at our front end (storefronts, websites, etc.) and learn what makes them move on and not look twice at our organization. This way, we can figure out how best to target our audience toward those people who still need convincing that our organization is the way to go.
2)Discuss your organization’s primary customer segments and their differences. Some questions that may guide you in your posting: How does your organization define and identify its market segments? What positioning strategy does your organization use with those segments? (1page)(2 reference)
My organization markets itself primarily towards the young male demographic, but there is also room for adult male customers as well. Our products mainly appeal to those young people with disposable income, as they are not necessities, but they are fun, hobby-related endeavors. However, with the new older-male segment of the population which has more disposable income, and the added appeal of nostalgia and play, we can sell more of these products to adult males. As a result, we experience significant market improvement in those areas, as grownup men in their 20s and 30s are also interested in investing in our product.
Our market segments are defined through demographics, as previously implied. We divide our customer base into groups, and subsequently learn what drives those market segments to buy from us. We use interviews and prediction algorithms to determine whether it’s a genuine interest in the product, the effectiveness of the marketing, the presence of a familiar spokesperson, or any other factor that drives them to buy from us. (Davenport and Harris, 2009)
Once we were able to determine that young men were the primary target audience for our product, we changed our positioning strategy accordingly to fit that. We made sure that our advertising and marketing appealed to young men, making our product seem more exciting and dynamic. (Davenport and Harris, 2009) We also tracked down more current, relevant celebrity spokespeople to represent our product, so that the customer base would identify with those figures and place more emotional stock in our product.
3)Interview with Ron Boire, former executive vice president at Best Buy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aICIVOl3JU
We segment our markets primarily, as mentioned previously, with young men in their teens to thirties, focusing mostly with those who were interested in gadgets and have a high disposable income with which to invest in these gadgets. We also would occasionally focus, during gift giving holidays such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day, on women who were in relationships with men who might want our product as a gift, as well as the mothers of these boys and men who wanted to give them something for Christmas. In the month or so leading up to each respective holiday, we would create demographic-specific branding and marketing to appeal to those fringe demographics. This way, we could get the women who would not necessarily want our product, but would be willing to buy it for a man that does.
This segmentation is important, as we can know how best to direct our marketing strategy. Our primary marketing can be moved toward young men, but those are not the only people who purchase our product. Therefore, we attempt to make inroads towards appealing to them during the peak times when they purchase the product, such as holidays and special occasions when buying a gadget may be warranted. For the most part, however, we skew towards young men who have the money to spare, marketing our product as hip, fresh, and current with the times.