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You & Co-Creation March 4, 2007

Posted by David Dirks in Building Foot Traffic, Buzz Marketing: Lowest Cost/Highest Payoff, Co-creation Marketing, Sales Strategy/Tactics.
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dirksphoto.jpg“What can I do to increase my sales, grow my profitability, create more foot traffic or inquiries, and engineer some ‘buzz’ around my business, etc.?”

There are many things you can do. Here’s one to consider very seriously:

Your customers and potential customers. Your current customers and your potential customers are more than just a wallet or purse that opens and closes. They are a source of small business energy that is rarely harnessed in ways that can generate more visibility, sales, and profits.

The big dogz are just starting to catch on to what is being described as ‘co-creation’ with customers. Gerhard Gschwandtner, publisher of Selling Power magazine (www.sellingpower.com) noted in the October 2006 issue “Brands no longer view customers as targets with a wallet, but as co-creators of exciting and profitable solutions.”

What does this mean for your business? Let me give you an example from the big dogz first. Gschwandtner focused on Timex. “To celebrate its 150th anniversary, Timex conducted a global design competition: ‘Timex2154: The Future Date of Time’. Designers from 72 countries explored the future of personal and portable timekeeping and sent in 640 surprisingly creative entries.” What a great way to create a real ‘buzz’ about Timex and get people outside the company to help!

In another example, Doritos created a campaign that invited consumers to create a 30-second commercial to sell Doritos. Anyone could create an entry with nothing more than their video camera. Then they had online consumers vote on which they thought was the best.

Why did Timex and Doritos do this? They did it in order to created excitement around the product (or brand) and GET THEIR CUSTOMERS TO PLAY AN ACTIVE ROLE. Anytime you can create ‘buzz’ around your business and give your customers a part in it, your business wins.

How does this apply your small business? Let’s say own a woman’s fashion store and you want to create something that will help you give you store more visibility and foot traffic (more sales).

Co-creation answer: How about putting together a fashion design contest, sponsored and hosted by your store? Think about it. You create the vehicle that allows customers (and potential customers) an opportunity to have some fun in a fashion competition. The top prizes could be gift certificates to your store. Want more exposure? Make sure your local paper, radio station, and TV station know about it. The local media might even be interested in supporting it. Cap it off with a very public fashion show held at your store or other (low-cost) venue.

Here’s another example for a local sporting goods store. Why not have contests for the most innovative fishing lure design? Have an adult and kids division so you can get more potential customers involved. Why not call a lure manufacturer and see if they wouldn’t want to help sponsor it and/or judge it?

Give them nice prizes (don’t skimp here) to motivate them to participate. Use the local media to make sure you get maximum exposure before, during, and after the event (more on that in another blog).

Anytime you can get your customers and potential customers involved in your product, store, or service, you help to differentiate yourself from the rest of your competition. You create foot traffic, interest, and dynamic ‘buzz’ that ultimately leads to more customers, sales, and profits.

Trust me, your competition isn’t thinking about this. Do it and run with the big dogz.