Companies that harness social media to collect customers' feedback on products and services aren't just ahead of the curve -- they're part of the "contribution revolution," Pete Blackshaw, Nielsen Online Executive Vice President, argues in his latest Ad Age column.
Blackshaw cites a recent Harvard Business Review article by Scott Cook, founder-chairman of software developer Intuit, that credits customer participation with generating "tangible enterprise value."
Intuit, Blackshaw notes, has created an innovative user-participation model that places "Live Community" user forums on every page of its TurboTax software.
Intuit has also put company resources behind the forums. General managers oversee all of its online communities, gathering consumer insights and funneling feedback to Intuit engineers and strategists.
That innovation -- building a "pipeline" from consumers to product creators -- is the real revolution, Blackshaw emphasizes.
"We must get more disciplined in listening to the consumers who are already reaching out to us," Blackshaw writes. "These are, after all, the original 'contributors.'"
Read the October installment of Pete Blackshaw’s regular Ad Age column on the convergence of service and marketing.