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How IT companies drive innovation and insights for their customers

by Manoj Kumar Chandra (co-founder and CTO of PreludeSys)
Sep 12, 2022
How IT companies drive innovation and insights for their customers, Article, KonexioNetwork.com

How IT Tech-Driven Companies Drive Innovation with Customer Insights?
Over the past 20 years, many factors have contributed to the overhaul of digital technology. For example, the internet and the internet of things (IoT) have transformed how we live and work. Customer experiences that were "utopian" are now a reality. Smaller and faster hardware components, wireless mobile connectivity, and advanced software engineering have helped. A website's user interface (UI) provides information on interactions such as transactions and browsing history.

Innovating companies find that traditional methods—such as new products' internal development, focus groups, and customer research—may not reflect customers' full range of needs. Customers themselves are now the focus of innovation efforts to address this shortfall.

It is common for businesses to interact with their customers early in product development. They can now seek customers' input early on. Consumer feedback is readily available during the idea generation and design stages. Thanks to social media and other platforms have encouraged this.
Developing new products and services is possible through this informal collaboration and data mining. A renewed focus on the customer minimizes the chance of products underperforming or failing altogether.

Capture Customer Intents
The top five most valuable brands Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft—leverage customer insights to drive innovation through their Multi Sided platforms (MSPs). This empowers transactions between participant groups or customers. Companies that use the power of MSPs are much more valuable than their competitors. An example is that Airbnb has leveraged the ability of customer insights to improve its UI and focus more on customers, making Airbnb more valuable than the largest chain of hotels, Marriot.

A network chain with MSPs and customer acquisition becomes facile as the network expands. As a result, customer decision-making is heavily influenced by the network.

The influence of buying decisions becomes more straightforward with the help of MSPs as companies can gather data on emotional and cognitive patterns, identify early adopters of technology, and leverage their social activities.

Provide Outside-The-Box Perspectives to the Marketing, Product Innovation, and Strategy Teams
Organizations can gain valuable insight into their customers' behavior when they leverage data and analytics. When companies hone various aspects of their marketing strategy with the massive amount of customer information they have at their fingertips, they can excel and become industry or segment leaders.

Organizations can use customer insights to capture the best growth opportunities. This is possible when organizations learn about their customers' rapidly changing needs in real time. Powerful analytics and world-class tools coupled with ongoing research help make this possible. 
A good example of a technology market failure is Windows 8, which was marketed as a "no compromise experience" during its launch by Microsoft. However, windows 8 was not functionally superior to iOS, Android, and Chrome. 

Instead of listening to its customers, it anticipated what its target customers wanted. Microsoft built what it could rather than what the customers wanted. 

By analyzing the impact of their brand on purchase decisions and comparing it with their competition, companies can create a 360-degree view of the customer and understand market demand. Companies can apply the results to determine pricing models, optimal product design, and distribution channels to maximize revenues and market share.

Establish a Match Between Customer Segments and the Organization's Plans
It is important to conserve resources and not spread marketing efforts too thin. Scattershot approaches don't work, and they cause churn. Companies that hyper-focus on their most valuable customers experience the most growth.

A company's strategies for brand, marketing, pricing, and customer service are inexorably tied to the target audience—this is axiomatic. What is new is how the target audience responds to market stimuli and new methods of communication. Consumer insights and marketing often shape brand and product strategies for consumer-packaged goods and retail companies.

Marketers lead the firm's business strategy to enhance the brand's value as viewed by consumers and drive growth. However, it is not uncommon for tech companies, even those that claim to be "customer-centric," to develop products based on assumptions internal to the company—especially those created by the company's founders or engineers. The fallacy of this approach can be seriously detrimental. 

Go-To-Market Deployment Strategies 
A go-to-market (GTM) strategy outlines a company's competitive advantage for acquiring and retaining customers. For example, pricing and distribution are factored into GTM strategy when delivering customer products and services. Business plans are like GTM strategies, but the latter is broader and considers more factors, such as funding.

Incremental funding is an excellent choice for businesses as it helps brands test a minimal viable product before increasing the funding for a full-scale launch. The MVP typically consists of a barebones version of the overall product idea that can be released to a portion of your users quickly and inexpensively to validate the product or service and establish a brand presence.

MVPs are the simple versions of your product with minimum viable features, not incomplete products. Through iterations of the MVP, customer feedback improves the final product until it becomes a reality. This is another example were tapping into customer sentiment and community feedback through the new communication platforms can increase a company’s success. 

In the digital economy, data is indispensable to decision-making and cross-departmental collaboration. The wide variety of data businesses generate creates an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage through insights and material outcomes. A data-driven culture can reshape an enterprise into a highly efficient, market-responsive machine. Businesses can establish this culture by breaking down data silos, engaging teams through leadership, and empowering teams to explore new ways of using data to their advantage.