McKinsey Quarterly published a really insightful list of tech-enabled business trends that are shaping business today. The first one maps to something I have been spending a lot of time in lately, companies using communities to drive support costs down while improving the experience of support, build better products, and capture the marketing potential that brand loyalists bring when amplified with social networks – a force multiplier.
Yet for every success in tapping communities to create value, there are still many failures. Some companies neglect the up-front research needed to identify potential participants who have the right skill sets and will be motivated to participate over the longer term. Since cocreation is a two-way process, companies must also provide feedback to stimulate continuing participation and commitment. Getting incentives right is important as well: cocreators often value reputation more than money. Finally, an organization must gain a high level of trust within a Web community to earn the engagement of top participants.
The other trend that McKinsey identified that I find particularly fascinating is #5, Experimentation and Big Data, is unfortunately named but otherwise a blockbuster of a trend. Essentially what this is identifying is how leading companies have been able to move beyond data sampling and are now tracking and benchmarking massive data sets of actual customer transaction and behavioral data. The ability to test, measure and iterate at this scale simply wasn’t possible before networks and the “internet of things” that McKinsey also identifies as a top trend.
Bookmark this McKinsey piece, it’s a keeper.