I remember once finding myself in a tense conference room with several other managers. We were trying to make the decision on a package for a key new product. We had VP's, Directors, Product Managers, Channel Managers, Sales, Engineering and a President in the room. Everyone had an opinion and of course the opinions differed.
I'm sure many of you in marketing have found yourself in similar situation. Perhaps in these leaner times, with a few less people involved. This kind of situation is common and can occur at several stages of a product or program's development. The question is how do you break the logjam of opinions? The stakes are often high, and time is precious.
There are several options. Go with the wishes of the senior member of the team. But perhaps they are the least informed on the issue, or they may be the least engaged. Another option is to compromise and take elements from all options. Of course this could result in a solution that lacks unity and direction. Another option is to fight to the bitter end based on your opinion. All of these alternatives have their limitations. Finally, someone might suggest getting some feedback from consumers. Unfortunately, in many instances, there might not be the time or the budget might not allow for a traditional research project.
This is where an online advisory community, sometimes referred to as a market research community, can help. An insight community can help in two powerful ways:
- Bring the voice of the consumer to the table - regardless of rank, almost all manager are willing to listen to the voice of the consumer. While consumer feedback is not the only consideration, I have found it to be invaluable in making more informed decisions and getting stakeholders on board.
- Avoid the decision logjam all together - gaining consumer feedback much earlier in the process accelerates decision making and gives the organization the resolve to keep moving forward. Decisions are not pushed to the end of the project.
An online advisory community has the benefit on being an on-going and virtually unlimited source for consumer feedback. Once in place companies can tap into this resource for almost any type of decision. If your organization could benefit from immediate and on-going consumer feedback you should definitely consider an online advisory community. While most activities run on a weekly cycle, we've helped clients get answers, like the above example, in as little as 24 hours.