A New Way To Listen To What Your Customers Are Saying About You

by drjim on February 15, 2010

Do Product Managers Need To Catch The Bus To Advertise Their Products Properly?

Do Product Managers Need To Catch The Bus To Advertise Their Products Properly?

A New Way To Create Ads For Your Products

Welcome to the world of the 21st Century – there seems to be a new competitor who is trying to win the attention of your customers every day. What’s a product manager to do? The answer lies in getting the message about why your product is better out before your potential customers in a way that connects with them. But how? Maybe the answer lies in what your existing customers are saying about your product…

How To Use This New Approach

For years now product managers have been told that we need to listen to what our customers are telling us in order to find ways to make our products better. However, nobody has ever really taken the time to tell us what we need to do in order to create product advertising messages that work.

With the arrival of the Internet, product advertising is yet one more thing that is undergoing a significant change. For the first time, the Internet gives product managers a chance to “eavesdrop” on what your customers are saying about their experience with your product.

We often think about these types of customer conversations in terms of the negative things that our customers are saying – that’s how we can discover what features need to be added to the next version of the product. However, it turns out that the positive things that they are saying can help us out also.

New technologies are becoming available that allow the big Internet to be scanned in order to collect all of the different things that are being said about your product. This information can reveal just what aspects of your product your customers are talking about (“I like the way that it feels in my hands”) as well as what they are not talking about (what? No mention of the extended warrantee that we debated about offering for two months?)

The power of this new approach to creating product ads is allowing your customers to determine what theme you end up using for your next advertising campaign as well as the words and images that you use. Even better, once you’ve launched the campaign, you can monitor the feedback and make changes to it in order to have an even greater impact.

Example: Harrah’s Takes A Gamble

A great example of one set of product managers who are doing exactly this comes from the casino company Harrah’s. Emily Steel has done some research on how they’ve been using these new tools.

She reports that Harrah’s mined the customer comments that had been posted on the travel review web site www.TripAdvisor.com along with watching what was being said on Twitter and Facebook in order to determine how they should promote their hotel / casino. What they discovered is that their customers valued the views they could get out of their hotel windows as well has the amenities in their rooms.

Harrah’s used this information to change the way that their web site looked as well as changing the types of information that they sent to prospective customers. Since doing this, they’ve reported that they’ve seen a double-digit increase in the number of on-line bookings for their properties.

What All Of This Means For You

Although this may seem like the way to go in the future, it turns out that you need to be a bit careful here. The people who are talking about your product already know about it. You will want to advertise to people who may not already know about your product. This means that things like focus groups and traditional market research are still an important part of what you need to be doing.

Ultimately, as a product manager you need to add this new technique for creating advertising that works for your product to your toolbox. It is yet one more way that the Internet is changing everything about the way that product managers do our job…

Do you think that knowing what your customers are saying about your products online would change how you talk about your product?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As product managers we are always looking for ways to give our products a unique selling proposition. However, maybe we’ve been overlooking the single most important way that we can get our potential customers to turn into actual customers: start selling time with our product…

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

J.D. Meier February 15, 2010 at 3:18 am

I’m a fan of the emerging “prosumer” model where the producer + consumer create the best results.

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Dr. Jim Anderson February 19, 2010 at 3:11 pm

J.D.: You bring up a really good point — not all consumers are created equally. Perhaps we need to start to separate our customers into different groups and pay a different amount of attention to the more sophisticated ones…?

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Tim Holmes February 17, 2010 at 9:56 am

nice post! yes Internet is indeed changing our lives forever. and we are extremely dependent on it for various purposes!

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Dr. Jim Anderson February 19, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Tim: … and there’s no going back! Anyone who is waiting for all of this Internet stuff to settle down will be waiting forever!

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